By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) - British comedian and actor Russell Brand has denied any criminal wrongdoing as the Sunday Times newspaper reported four women had accused him of sexual assaults, including rape, during a seven-year period when he was at the height of his fame.
Brand, 48, the former husband of U.S. singer Katy Perry, issued a denial to unspecified "very serious criminal allegations" hours before they were published online by the newspaper on Saturday.
The Sunday Times did not say if any of the women had made complaints to the police. Reuters was unable to reach Brand's representatives for further response after the paper's report was published.
The Times, which reported the alleged incidents had taken place between 2006 and 2013, said one woman had made an allegation of rape, while another said Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and still at school. Two of the accusers reported the incidents occurred in Los Angeles, the paper said.
Channel 4 TV's documentary show "Dispatches", which was due to air further details of the allegations later on Saturday, also broadcast a number of clips of the women on X, formerly known as Twitter, describing the alleged incidents.
In a video message posted on social media, Brand said the accusations contained "a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks as well as some pretty stupid stuff".
"But amidst this litany of astonishing rather baroque attacks, are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute," he said.
"These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies. And as I've written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous," Brand said.
"Now, during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely always consensual."
The Sunday Times said its report was the result of a joint investigation with "Dispatches" that began in 2019.
Brand was once one of Britain's most-high profile comedians, known for his flamboyant style and appearance, a regular on television and radio, including working for the BBC, during the 2000s while he also starred in a number of films such as "Get Him to the Greek".
He married Perry in a lavish wedding in India in 2010, but filed for divorce just 14 months later. He now mainly focuses on online projects and has a large following for his regular podcasts and shows on social media.
"I don't mind them using my books and my stand-up to talk about my promiscuous consensual conduct in the past," he said in his video message. "What I seriously refute are these very, very serious criminal allegations."
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alex Richardson)