Russell Brand dropped from Jeremy Corbyn poetry book 'in light of concerning allegations'

The comedian turned YouTube personality was due to feature in a forthcoming anthology, 'Poetry for the Many', a project Corbyn is spearheading with Len McCluskey


LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Comedian Russell Brand speaks to thousands of demonstrators gathered in Parliament Square to protest against austerity and spending cuts on June 20, 2015 in London, England. Thousands of people gathered to march from the City of London to Westminster, where they listened to addresses from singer Charlotte Church and comedian Russell Brand as well as Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness. (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)

Jeremy Corbyn and Len McCluskey have dropped a contribution by Russell Brand from their forthcoming poetry book after allegations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse were made about the comedian turned YouTube personality.

Brand, 48, was the subject of a four-year investigation carried out jointly by the Times, Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, which uncovered how the TV presenter allegedly carried out a series of sexual offences at the height of his fame between 2006 and 2013.

In a video shared on his YouTube Channel before the allegations were published, Brand, who previously presented programmes on Channel 4 and BBC radio, strenuously denied the claims, which he labelled “astonishing” and “rather baroque”.

The comedian acknowledged his “very promiscuous” past and stressed that “during that time of promiscuity, the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual.”

Writing from Brand had been due to appear in a collection of poetry published jointly by former Labour leader Corbyn and ex-Unite leader McCluskey.

The compendium, named Poetry for the Many, will feature contributions from filmmaker Ken Loach and trade unionist and political strategist Karie Murphy, according to marketing material.

The 223-page anthology is due to be published on November 14, but that date might have to be pushed back to allow publishers time to remove Brand’s contribution and redesign the front cover, which also features the broadcaster’s name.

It is understood that Brand had chosen a collection of pieces to feature in the anthology as a “guest contributor”. It is not clear whether he had penned any poems to sit beside the pieces he had selected.

A spokesman for Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project confirmed a report from the Huffington Post, saying Brand would no longer appear in the book.

The spokesman said: “In light of the recent allegations concerning Russell Brand, we have removed his contribution from our upcoming Poetry For The Many project.”

In 2017, Brand told the BBC programme Newsnight he hoped that he had played a part in Corbyn’s rise to popularity.

Asked whether he felt irresponsible for encouraging the public in 2013 to refrain from voting in political elections, Brand replied: “No. As a matter of fact, in my more optimistic moments, I hope that it may in some small way have contributed to what we have subsequently seen: The Labour Party electing a leader that is engaged and engaging.”

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