The foreign secretary said there are ‘questions for the entertainment industry’ when he was asked about the allegations against Russell Brand.
James Cleverly said there are ‘some real challenges where you have these very, very acute differentials in power’ in different sectors.
He told BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg: ‘I think we have to be particularly careful when we listen to the voices of the people who are relatively powerless because we, I think, collectively have missed opportunities to do the right thing and intervene much, much earlier, and we’ve got to be better at this.’
Pressed on whether there are questions for the industry, Mr Cleverly replied: ‘Sadly, I think there are.’
Similarly, Mr Cleverly told the Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips programme on Sky News there was a ‘particular problem, where you have environments where there are very, very sharp differentials in power’.
He said: ‘We see that in the film industry, the entertainment industry and sadly, of course, we sit in the area that I work in terms of politics, where you have very, very significant power differentials, long working hours, people in that environment.
‘Now, that is absolutely no excuse for individual misconduct and people have to take responsibility for their own conduct.
‘In those environments, I think institutionally we need to be particularly vigilant. We need to make sure that we are going out of our way to protect the people that have less power than those around them.
‘ We need to respond to their concerns very, very quickly when they are highlighted.’
Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by four women, including one who claimed she was 16 years old at the time.
The reports have now come to light in an article by The Times and were explored in more detail in a Channel 4 Dispatches special on Saturday night.
Four alleged victims have claimed they were abused by Brand during the years from 2006 to 2013.
One says the St Trinian’s actor raped her up against a wall at his home in Los Angeles and he later apologised over text after she told him: ‘When a girl say[s] no it means no.’
A second woman alleges that Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and at school, and he was 31.
She says she had to punch him in the stomach to make him stop after he ‘forced his penis down her throat’.
A third woman claims that Brand threatened to take legal action against her if she told anyone about him allegedly sexually assaulting her while she worked with him in Los Angeles.
A fourth tells the publication that Brand ‘forced a finger inside of her’ after becoming angry when he found out she had spoken to an ex-boyfriend.
She claims he also forced her to brush her teeth so hard and make her gums bleed so she would taste ‘anonymous’ to him, according to The Times.
Brand, a 48-year-old comedian and actor who has reinvented himself as a wellness guru and anti-establishment influencer with millions of followers online, denies the accusations.
On Friday night, Brand said he had been approached by a mainstream TV network and a mainstream newspaper with ‘extremely disturbing’ correspondence listing ‘a litany of extremely egregious and aggressive attacks.’
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