Why Was Russell Brand Fired From Comedy Central’s ‘Roast Battle?’

Trigger Warning: This article discusses sensitive topics, including sexual violence. Viewers should read with discretion.

In the wake of mounting sexual assault allegations against comedian Russell Brand, following the airing of the documentary Russell Brand: In Plain Sight, news has emerged surrounding Brand’s 2018 departure from the British comedy competition series Roast Battle, which aired on Comedy Central UK.

Roast Battle, a show where comedians take turns roasting one another on a one-to-one basis, was Brand’s last appearance on UK television. Brand sat on the judges panel on season one of the show, alongside fellow comedians Katherine Ryan and Jimmy Carr, before exiting the series after just one season.

According to a Deadline report released today, Brand left the series after Katherine Ryan referred to him as a sexual predator when it was her turn to roast him in a segment that never made it to air. Three sources close to Fulwell 73, the production company behind Roast Battle, confirmed that this event had occurred to the publication.

This weekend, a resurfaced clip of Katherine Ryan from the series Louis Theroux Interviews went viral online. Speaking to Louis Theroux, Ryan told the journalist broadcaster, “I – in front of loads of people, in the format of the show – said to this person’s face that they are a predator.”

Ryan added that “it’s very dangerous for us to have this conversation” and that “it’s a litigious minefield because lots of people have tried to nail this person down for their alleged crimes, and this person has outstanding lawyers, so am I going to put my mortgage on the line by saying who this person is or entering into any conversations like that?”

Photo by Lucille Flood/Comic Relief/Getty Images

As well as sounding identical to the new report, Deadline confirmed via its sources that Katherine Ryan was the one who confronted Russell Brand about the reputation he had on the comedy scene surrounding sexual misconduct, something said to be an open secret for several years, before the documentary aired.

Deadline said that Brand was “absolutely furious” at Ryan’s allegation and that other comedians may have also made such allegations during the recording. The same source confirmed that Fulwell 73 felt uncomfortable keeping him on with these rumors swirling, but his departure from the series stemmed from Brand being humorless about the roasts made by other comedians.

According to a new report by The Timessources who spoke to the publication confirmed what Ryan had said to Brand during the roast. In one joke, Ryan said it was good to see Brand “looking so good” before following up with “I will remind you of that if any victims come out.” The same sources reported that Ryan also made a joke about Brand’s infamous break-up with former wife Katy Perry via text message, and Brand’s reaction to both jokes resulted in the scene being cut from the episode’s final edit.

If you know someone who is suffering from sexual violence, contact RAINN or the National Sexual Abuse Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

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