YouTube on Tuesday has stopped Russell Brand from making money from his channel on the platform after he was accused of rape and sexual assault, cutting off a key source of income for the actor and comedian after his publisher, management agency and charities severed ties over the allegations.
YouTube has suspended monetization on Brand’s channel for violating its “creator responsibility policy,” the Google-owned video-sharing site confirmed to Forbes in a statement on Tuesday.
The decision will stop Brand from making money on the platform—which primarily comes from adverts embedded in videos—and applies to “all channels that may be owned or operated” by Brand, YouTube said, stressing that its rules also apply to behavior off the platform as well.
“If a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community,” a YouTube spokesperson said; Brand has denied the allegations against him.
YouTube acknowledged it is rare for monetization to be blocked for off-platform behavior but said its actions regarding Brand were consistent with previous enforcement of its policies, pointing to its previous decisions to demonetize beauty influencer James Charles and internet personality David Dobrik.
Suspended users are banned from using new or alternative channels to circumvent enforcement, YouTube said.
6.61 million. That’s how many subscribers Brand has on his YouTube channel. According to his profile, Brand joined the platform at the start of 2007 and as of writing has posted roughly 2,400 videos that have garnered 1.1 billion views. Based on five videos a week, experts estimated Brand could net around $1.2 million (£1 million) a year from YouTube, excluding any sponsorship deals or affiliate deals going on behind the scenes, according to the Guardian. Brand has three other YouTube channels linked to his main account that collectively have 470,000 subscribers.
Brand was accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse between 2006 and 2013 by four women as part of an investigation by major British news outlets over the weekend. Brand strongly denies the allegations and preemptively posted a video to YouTube and other platforms on Friday, refuting the claims as “a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks.” While “very promiscuous” at the height of his fame, Brand insisted his relationships were “always consensual.” Since the report, 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.
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Brand is being investigated by U.K. broadcasters the BBC and Channel 4 and production company Banijay U.K. over the allegations. London’s Metropolitan Police also said it has received a report of alleged sexual assault against Brand from 2003 which appears to be unrelated to the claims in the media investigation. As of Monday night, the force said it had not yet opened a formal investigation.