Earlier this week, five women came forward to accuse comedian Russell Brand of sexual assault.
Throughout his career, Brand has frequently boasted about his sexual escapades, but the accounts offered in his books and standup comedy routines did nothing to prepare fans for the allegations reported on Sunday via a joint investigation by The Times and U.K. current affairs show Channel 4 Dispatches.
The claims against Brand range from harassment to rape.
The youngest of the victims alleges that she was just 16 when she was pressured into having sex with Brand, who was 32 at the time.
Another woman alleged that Brand raped her against the wall of his home in 2012.
In a video posted to his social media accounts, Brand fervently denied the allegations and insisted that he’s the victim of a vast media conspiracy.
The situation has prompted a reexamination of some of Brand’s public behavior over the years.
The 48-year-old has spent decades in the spotlight, and his tendency to make light of his sexual appetites often resulted in material that was distressing at the time and downright disturbing in retrospect.
For example, many critics have pointed to a 2013 Tonight Show appearance in which Brand pulled a shocked Katherine McPhee into his lap as host Jimmy Fallon attempted to intervene.
“I’ll just be here, with my sexual charisma,” Brand quipped once he and McPhee were finally separated.
McPhee recently downplayed the incident, saying, “This specific incident was over 10 years ago, and it was harmless.”
Of course, that’s the only incident in which Brand seemed comfortable making insinuations about a female colleague for laughs.
In 2018, Brand appeared on an episode of the “Loose Women” podcast that aired just days before the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
“Is it true that you’ve snogged Meghan Markle?” one of the show’s hosts asked during the interview.
“As a matter of fact it is,” said Brand, pausing as the the audience cheered wildly.
“But let me say before we get carried away. She was in a film that I was in, Get Him to the Greek. It was a good film.”
Brand went on to explain that he scarcely recalls Markle’s presence on set, as she was an unknown actress who “wasn’t married to a royal person.”
“I don’t remember the film that much, I think I planted one on her in the scene,” continued Brand, noting that that the scene in question was “scripted” and not improvised.
“I only know this because I think I saw a clip of it somewhere. Meghan Markle, there we go,” he added.
In fairness to Brand, he promptly clarified the matter, but the question was likely only asked because of the murmurs of his on-set behavior toward female co-stars that have followed him throughout his career.
Brand’s Get Him to the Greek character, Aldous Snow, originated in the 2008 rom-com Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
The female lead in that film, Kristen Bell, says she had no trouble with Brand on set, but she also recalls that she felt the need to issue a warning to the notoriously randy comic in response to his reputation.
“I made it really clear from the beginning that I would sock him in the balls if he tried anything,” she said to the Daily Mail, two years after the film’s release.
“So he was intimidated, truth be told.”
Over the course of his career, Brand has reveled in his reputation as an ardent ladies’ man and a tireless seducer.
But as the investigation into his past continues, the comic might find himself regretting some of those boasts and jests.