Russell Brand announces plans to be ‘baptised’ following sexual assault allegations

Russell Brand has announced that he is going to be baptised as an “opportunity to leave the past behind”, less than a year after a Channel 4Dispatches documentary exposed allegations of sexual assault against the comedian.

In an Instagram video recorded in his garden on Friday (26 April), Brand, 48, told his followers: “This Sunday, I’m taking the plunge. I’m getting baptised.

“What’s been explained to me is, it’s an opportunity to die and be reborn. An opportunity to leave the past behind and be reborn in Christ’s name.

He then referenced a verse from scripture, adding: “Like it says in Galatians: that you can live as an enlightened and awakened person”.

Brand added that the prospect of baptism was “so inviting and beautiful”.

“People are cynical about the increasing interest in Christianity and the return to God, but to me, it’s obvious.

“As meaning deteriorates in the modern world, as our value systems and institutions crumble, all of us become increasingly aware that there is this eerily familiar awakening and beckoning figure that we’ve all known all of our lives, within us and around us.

“And for me it’s very exciting.”

Brand told his followers that the prospect of being reborn was ‘so inviting and beautiful’ (Instagram via @russellbrand)
Brand told his followers that the prospect of being reborn was ‘so inviting and beautiful’ (Instagram via @russellbrand)

He said at the time he hadn’t decided on a location – but was considering London’s River Thames.

“One of my concerns is that I’m thinking about doing it in the Thames,” he said. “So I could be getting baptised in toxoplasmosis and E. coli, based on what I’ve learnt.

“I may be leaving behind my sins but I might be picking up some serious viruses,” he said.

In September, a Channel 4 Dispatches and Sunday Times investigation revealed accusations by four women of rape, sexual assault and abuse at the height of Brand’s fame between 2006 and 2013.

Brand, who the Metropolitan Police have questioned, has strongly denied all accusations and recently told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a YouTube video that the claims were “very, very hurtful”.

Channel 4 has since been forced to question how much its bosses were aware of as the presenter worked on the broadcaster’s programmes Big Brother’s Big Mouth and Kings Of Comedy between 2004 and 2007. Publishing its findings from an internal investigation in March, the channel found “no evidence” that its bosses knew about the allegations against Brand.

According to the Dispatches investigation published in September, Brand allegedly entered a relationship with one of the women when he was 31 and she was aged 16. On their first date, she claims he asked her to confirm if she was 16 and said: “I don’t give a f*** if you’re 12 ... I need to know where I stand legally.”

She claims that he sexually assaulted her at his home just before their relationship ended.

Another woman is said to have received treatment at a rape crisis centre after she claims she was raped by Brand. The Times said she later texted him to say “When a girl say[s] NO it means no” after the alleged attack, and that Brand sent a text back in apology.

The third complainant is said to have claimed Brand assaulted her in Los Angeles, with the star then threatening legal action if she took her case further. The Times reported that Brand was “physically and emotionally abusive” towards the fourth complainant.

The allegations also included controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, which he denies.

In an interview with former Fox News broadcaster Tucker Carlson, Brand said it was “very, very painful” to be accused of “the most appalling crimes”.

At the time the allegations were exposed, Brand said his infant son was undergoing heart surgery.

Russell Brand has been questioned over alleged sexual offences (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)
Russell Brand has been questioned over alleged sexual offences (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Archive)

“I suppose what that did is it revealed that what we were experiencing was a public concoction,” said the Get Him To The Greek actor. “I am aware that I put myself in an extremely vulnerable position by being very, very promiscuous. That is not the kind of conduct that I endorse, and it’s certainly not how I would live now.”

“I’ve been shown a good many things, as a result of these events – the value of my family, the value of friendship, the value of being able to speak publicly.

“I mentioned my son because throughout it I was able to maintain what is really important in life ... hurtful as it is to be accused of what I consider to be the most appalling crimes, to be accused of this is very, very painful, and very hurtful.”

He added: “But I am being shown that there are consequences for the rather foolish way that I lived in the past – although of course again to reiterate, due to the nature of the world we live, of course I deny any allegations of the kind that have been advanced.”