Channel 4’s chief executive has described the allegations made against Russell Brand as “horrendous” and said it is clear that “terrible behaviour towards women was historically tolerated” in the TV industry.
Alex Mahon made the comments about Brand as she addressed the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention, scheduled before the allegations of sexual assault emerged at the weekend.
Some of the claims date back to when the comedian was presenting the Big Brother spin-off programme Big Brother’s Big Mouth on Channel 4.
Brand, 48, denies any allegations against him.
Mahon told the audience at the convention that the alleged behaviour, made public in a joint investigation by The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches, needs to be looked into further.
She urged people with any information to get in touch anonymously if they want to.
“They’re not empty words or gestures,” she said, adding that the broadcaster will look to find out who knew what about any alleged inappropriate behaviour during Brand’s time on the show.
“But what is clear to me is that terrible behaviour towards women was historically tolerated in our industry, and the clips we’ve seen as well provide a rather shocking jolt when one realises what appeared on air not that long ago,” she said.
“The behaviour is less prevalent now, but it’s still a problem and it’s something that we must all confront. There is still more change that needs to come.”
She added: “The allegations made against Russell Brand are horrendous and as a CEO of Channel 4 and as a woman in our industry.
“I found the behaviours described in Dispatches and The Sunday Times and The Times articles disgusting and saddening.
“The allegations of course need to be followed up further and we and the BBC and Banijay are busy investigating.”
Four women made sexual abuse allegations against the star between 2006 and 2013 as part of an investigation.
Brand, who denies the allegations, claimed in a video posted online on Friday night that all his relationships have been “consensual”.
On Tuesday, BBC director general Tim Davie announced a review into Brand’s time at the corporation.
The announcement came hours after the broadcaster removed some of its content featuring Brand from iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
YouTube also suspended adverts on videos by Brand and Channel 4 has taken down content featuring the comedian from its streaming service.
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
Please refresh the page for the fullest version.