Police in London on Monday said they had received a report of alleged sexual assault, after media revelations about the British comedian and actor Russell Brand.
A joint investigation by The Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4 television on Saturday published claims from four women of rape, sexual assaults and emotional abuse against Brand.
Brand, 48, strongly denied the allegations, which are said to have taken place between 2006 and 2013, in a video statement released on Friday night.
He maintained that his relationships have always been “consensual”, even during a period when he admitted being “very, very promiscuous”.
The Times and Sunday Times on Monday said more women had come forward to make claims about his behaviour in the early 2000s, without giving further details.
The revelations come amid criticism of how sexual assault cases are handled in the criminal justice system in the UK, as well as how media organisations have handled similar accusations of inappropriate behaviour by big-name stars.
In a short statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “On Sunday September 17, the Met received a report of a sexual assault which was alleged to have taken place in Soho in central London in 2003.
“Officers are in contact with the woman and will be providing her with support.”
The force said it had been in touch with the newspapers and the documentary makers at Channel 4 “to ensure that anyone who believes they have been the victim of a sexual offence is aware of how to report this to the police”.
Brand’s former employers the BBC and Channel 4 as well as a production company have launched investigations into the claims.
According to the newspapers and the documentary, Brand allegedly raped one woman in his Los Angeles home.
Another claims that he assaulted her during a three-month relationship when she was 16 and still at school.
Downing Street urged the broadcasters to set out the results of their investigations into Brand “transparently”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s official spokesman called the allegations “very serious and concerning”, adding the leader “has been clear there should never be any space for harassment, regardless of where it is found”.
Brand’s publisher Bluebird also announced that “all future publishing” with the comedian had been put on hold.
Brand performed a sold-out comedy gig in London after the accusations first aired, but the Theatre Royal Windsor, west of the capital, said Monday that his show at the venue on Tuesday had been postponed.
Brand became known internationally as the former husband of pop star Katy Perry after forging a career as a stand-up comedian, with near-the-knuckle routines, often about drugs and sex.
He presented on television reality shows and played rock star Aldous Snow in the 2008 film “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, and its 2010 sequel “Get Him to the Greek”.
In recent years he has drawn accusations of being a conspiracy theorist after using his YouTube channel to question the Covid pandemic to his nearly seven million followers.
He has argued that the pandemic was exaggerated and exploited by a global elite to enforce radical social change.