Banijay UK publishes summary of its investigation into allegations regarding behaviour of Russell Brand whilst engaged by legacy production company Endemol

14 June, 2024

Comprehensive investigation examines alleged inappropriate behaviour by Russell Brand while engaged by the company between 2004 and 2008, the awareness of senior executives at Endemol of the alleged misconduct and the safeguarding and duty of care procedures in place at the time.

On 17th September Banijay UK triggered an urgent internal investigation following the broadcast and publication of the joint investigation into Russell Brand by Dispatches, The Times and The Sunday Times on 16th September 2023 and the serious accusations made regarding his treatment of women.

On 28th September, it subsequently engaged legal firm Lewis Silkin to investigate the allegations regarding Russell Brand’s conduct while working on shows produced by Endemol – EFourum, later to become Big Brother’s Big Mouth, and Kings of Comedy (2004 – 2006) and Big Brother’s Celebrity Hijack (2008).

The investigating team undertook extensive interviews with current and former Endemol / Banijay employees and reviewed all relevant emails, correspondence, and documentation available over the course of 385 hours of the investigation.

An executive summary of the findings from the Lewis Silkin report is provided here.

The investigating team concluded that:

  • No formal complaints were ever raised regarding Russell Brand’s (RB) behaviour on the programmes he worked on for Endemol during the period in question.
  • However, there is evidence of informal complaints regarding RB’s behaviour (in relation to asking runners to get audience phone numbers and female staff feeling uncomfortable around him) to more senior members of staff but these were not escalated or adequately addressed at the time.
  • There was no clear escalation process in place during the respective period, and minimal training provided, on ‘respect in the workplace’, the code of conduct or ethical practices.
  • There is no evidence to suggest anyone at Endemol was aware RB was being treated for sex addiction prior to his autobiography being published in November 2007.
  • RB’s contracts pertaining to Endemol employment did not include a clause prohibiting him having sex with people he worked with as alleged by Dispatches and The Times.
  • There is no evidence to support that any staff were aware of a sexual relationship in 2004 with runner ‘Rachel’ and no evidence that any of the witnesses were aware of RB allegedly exposing himself to her as referenced in Dispatches and The Times.
  • Two witnesses were aware of an allegation that RB would make crew members wait outside his dressing room whilst he It is alleged other witnesses were aware of this issue, but there is insufficient information to conclude this actually occurred.

Following the broadcast of the Dispatches documentary and publication of reports by The Times and The Sunday Times, Banijay UK also invited anyone who felt impacted by the allegations, or had felt unsupported at the time, to contact Banijay in confidence via confidential phone line and email. Two people subsequently reached out via these lines and despite official outreach, neither chose to provide further information.

Patrick Holland CEO of Banijay UK said “Dispatches made deeply troubling allegations regarding Russell Brand’s behaviour during his time working for legacy company Endemol. I am grateful to Lewis Silkin for this thorough report and the learnings we can take from it.  While Endemol did have support and escalation procedures in place during the period in question, they were clearly not understood and adhered to the degree we would expect today and were not as robust as our current UK and group-wide processes. Industry protocols, duty of care and expectations of behaviour have vastly improved in recent years and continue to be reviewed and progressively updated on a regular basis. We are extremely sorry to anyone who was impacted by this behaviour and felt unable to speak up or that their voice was not properly heard.”

Banijay acquired Endemol Shine in 2020. (Shine acquired Endemol in 2015). In the years since these alleged incidents, there has been extensive change at the organisation. Duty of care and safeguarding protocols before, during and after our productions have been prioritised across the business and on all productions, these include:

  • Access to confidential advice and support via a third-party Employee Assistance Programme widely advertised to staff.
  • Production startup meetings attended by an HR and Legal representative where expectations of behaviour, escalation and whistleblowing policies are shared and promoted.
  • HR contact details on call sheets.
  • Information on how to raise concerns provided at multiple points via start up meetings, posters and training sessions.
  • Banijay confidential Speak Up line and website where people can (anonymously) report issues and concerns.
  • A Safeguarding Rep appointed on all Banijay UK productions, and access to a confidential representative to support individuals should they wish in any reporting matters.
  • Mandatory respect at work training.
  • All staff, including freelancers, are asked to undertake training around anti bullying and harassment, inclusion.
  • All productions use and promote the Film and TV Charity’s ‘Whole Picture Programme toolkit’ which provides tools and resources to support mental health. The charity’s help and support line is also promoted on productions.
  • HR guidance for line managers and Heads of Department.
  • Banijay Code of Conduct promoted globally.