YouTube has moved to prevent British comedian and internet commentator Russell Brand from making money through his YouTube channel this week, following allegations from multiple women that he sexually assaulted them more than a decade ago.
The online video platform announced Tuesday that it had suspended monetization for Brand’s channel, citing the creator’s "off-platform behavior" violating YouTube policy.
The site’s decision prevents Brand from earning revenue that comes from advertisements embedded in YouTube videos, the main way content creators make money on the platform.
Brand has a large following on the platform, with more than 6 million subscribers. His videos, most of which consist of critiquing government and corporate power structures, bias in the media, and encouraging users to embrace critical thinking when it comes to mainstream news stories, routinely earn millions of views.
YouTube’s decision cuts off a key source of income for the creator, after "his publisher, management agency and charities severed ties over the allegations," Forbes reported on Tuesday.
The platform made the call after four women accused Brand of rape, sexual assault, and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013. The claims went public following a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, The Times and Channel 4 Dispatches.
In a video Brand posted to his YouTube channel last Friday, the comedian insisted that his relationships with these women were "consensual" and called the claims "very serious criminal allegations."
He blasted the allegations as a "litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks" against himself.
He added he has always been "transparent" with the consensual nature of his relationships, and said, "To see that transparency metastasized into something criminal, that I absolutely deny, makes me question: is there another agenda at play?"
In its official statement about demonetizing Brand, YouTube stated, "We have suspended monetization on Russell Brand's channel for violating our creator responsibility policy. If a creator's off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community."
The site confirmed that the decision happened "following serious allegations against the creator. This action means the channel is no longer able to monetize on YouTube."
Since the allegations were reported, Brand has "lost his book deal with Pan Macmillan, been dropped by his management agency and had dates for his ‘Bipolarisation’ tour postponed and charities have cut ties with the star," Forbes added.
Multiple streaming platforms have moved to drop content featuring Brand since the allegations. BBC confirmed to The Daily Mail Tuesday that it had removed clips featuring Brand from its platforms, iPlayer and BBC Sounds.
U.K.’s Channel 4 has removed episodes featuring Brand from its streaming service as well. A spokesperson for the network told The DailyMail, "We have taken down content featuring Russell Brand from our streaming service while we look into this matter. This includes the Celebrity Bake Off episode."
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