Russell Brand Dispatches documentary: Ofcom rejects complaints over Channel 4 episode on sex abuse allegations
Ofcom has rejected nearly 200 complaints over Channel 4's Dispatches exposé of allegations against comedian Russell Brand
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The episode, broadcast on 16 Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, which aired on September, featured allegations including rape and sexual assault by four women as well as archival footage of Brand’s stand-up in which he makes jokes about the same behaviour.
Ahead of the episode airing, Brand took to YouTube, X, and Rumble, to tell his followers that he ‘absolutely refutes’ the allegations that were about to air in the documentary. Following the Dispatches episode airing, Brand released another video saying that he was being censored by various platforms including YouTube.
Within a fortnight of the Dispatches episode airing, two separate police investigations had been launched into Brand’s behaviour, and in November he was questioned under caution by police regarding three non-recent sexual offences.
Why has Ofcom rejected complaints over Dispatches?
The Dispatches episode received 134 complaints in the two days following it airing on Channel 4, and was the most complained about programme to Ofcom that week.
Ofcom revealed on the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin that 183 complaints had been made against the show in total, with the primary issue being complained of was that the episode was ‘materially misleading’.
The Dispatches was part of a list of shows that had been complained about but which Ofcom had assessed and decided not to pursue. It had the second-highest number of complaints, behind an October 17 Sky News programme on the Israel-Hamas War, which received 209 complaints over the issue of bias.
Ofcom stated at the top of the bulletin that all of the complaints into the below programmes had been assessed, and that ‘after careful assessment, Ofcom has decided not to pursue because they did not raise issues warranting investigation.’
An Ofcom spokesperson told NationalWorld: "We carefully assessed complaints from viewers about this documentary, some of whom found the description of alleged sexual assaults distressing and others who questioned the testimony of those who appeared in the programme.
"Taking into account the clear and repeated warnings about the nature of the content, the support services signposted to viewers and the significant public interest in covering issues such as these, we will not be pursuing these complaints further."
Brand himself has suggested that the broadcast, which was made in concert with The Times as part of a years-long investigation, is part of an effort by the mainstream media to silence him as he has established himself as an alternative news source.
What is Russell Brand doing now?
After Brand was demonetised by YouTube, he moved his primary online home to Rumble, where he continues to share conspiracy theory videos about vaccines, the Israel-Hamas War, and election fraud.
The comedian is believed to have earned £350,000 from Rumble since the Dispatches episode first aired.