Russell Brand's 'Big Brother' Concerns and Dressing Room Rumors

Investigation reveals troubling concerns about Russell Brand's past behavior

by Zain ul Abedin
Russell Brand's 'Big Brother' Concerns and Dressing Room Rumors
© Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Concerns about Russell Brand's behavior on "Big Brother's Big Mouth" two decades ago have resurfaced, including rumors of him making crew members wait outside his dressing room while he masturbated. This information comes from a Banijay investigation published this morning, conducted by the legal firm Lewis Silkin.

The investigation revealed that informal concerns regarding Brand’s behavior were raised with senior staff members. These concerns included Brand asking runners to obtain phone numbers of audience members and female crew members feeling uncomfortable or intimidated by his behavior.

Two witnesses were aware of the masturbation rumors, while others had heard them since, although there was no formal or informal complaint evidence from that time. When Brand was hired for "Big Brother’s Big Mouth" and "Big Brother’s EFourum," Channel 4 and producer Endemol (now Banijay) knew he was a "recovering drug addict with a reputation for being 'edgy'" Despite this, no specific safeguards were implemented to protect Brand, his colleagues, or others he interacted with.

Brand Allegations Persist

This report is the third examining Brand’s behavior since Channel 4 and The Sunday Times published allegations last year that shook the entertainment world, including those from his time on "Big Brother’s Big Mouth." The BBC's investigation found five complaints about his behavior on radio shows between 2006 and 2008.

Channel 4 reported receiving "two new worrying allegations" since the Dispatches documentary aired. Brand has been questioned twice by police in London and vehemently denies the claims, asserting all his relationships were consensual.

Banijay’s investigation indicated that staff on "Big Brother’s Big Mouth" felt unable to raise concerns about Brand due to his role and the perception that his behavior was tolerated by senior personnel. The report noted that Brand was known for being "very flirtatious" with female colleagues and sometimes appeared n-ked in front of Endemol staffers.

There is evidence suggesting that such behavior was dismissed as "Russell being Russell." Lewis Silkin conducted numerous interviews and spent 385 hours on the investigation. Banijay highlighted "extensive changes" since acquiring Endemol in 2020, including HR contact details on all call sheets, multiple points of information on raising concerns, and a confidential Speak Up line and website for anonymous reporting.

The Banijay code of conduct is promoted globally. Earlier this year, Banijay's Initial label rebooted "Big Brother" for ITV, along with the spin-off "Big Brother: Late & Live" on ITV2. ITV introduced several duty-of-care protocols before the show's launch, including a social media blackout and anti-harassment policies.