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The BBC and Channel 4 will be told by ministers they need to be fully transparent in their investigations into Russell Brand’s alleged behaviour while he worked on their programmes.
Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer will seek assurances from executives at both broadcasters that they will carry out their internal inquiries into his alleged conduct thoroughly and transparently.
In a separate move, MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee are expected to announce on Tuesday they want answers from the BBC and Channel 4 on “who knew what, when” about Mr Brand’s alleged behaviour.
MPs are in discussions with another committee, which oversees women and equalities, to decide which forum should take the lead in a parliamentary inquiry into issues sparked by The Sunday Times, Times and Dispatches investigation into Mr Brand’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Caroline Dineage, Tory chair of the committee, said she was also writing to YouTube and TikTok, where Mr Brand has accounts followed by millions of people, asking them whether the comedian had breached any of their codes of practice given the seriousness of the allegations he faces, which he has denied.
The MP compared the fact that promoters of his show had postponed performances in the wake of the allegations to the fact that Mr Brand’s social media accounts were still up. She told Sky News: “I’m really interested to know the extent to which that is allowed to perpetuate.”
Ms Frazer will speak to BBC and Channel 4 executives about their own investigations into Mr Brand at their next meeting, Government sources said.
The minister meets broadcasting chiefs on a regular basis.
Downing Street described the sexual assault allegations made against Mr Brand by four different women as “very serious and concerning”.
Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “These are very serious and concerning allegations.
“The Met Police has asked anyone who believes they have been a victim of a sexual assault to come forward to speak to officers.
“As the Foreign Secretary said over the weekend, people should feel able to raise concerns where they have them and know they will be treated seriously and treated with sensitivity.
“The Prime Minister has been clear there should never be any space for harassment, regardless of where it is found.”
The No 10 spokesman said: “It’s right that this is looked into and I think both of the broadcasters have said they would investigate, and that is the right step.
“I’m not going to prejudge that, it will be for them to set out what they find and do so transparently.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s a decision for all broadcasters to consider the right approach in light of these very serious allegations. They are deeply concerning, they need to be investigated.
“But I’m not going to dictate the actions of broadcasters or streaming services.”