What are you looking for?

22 September 2023 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Sexual abuse within the comedy industry

Spotify podcastsApple podcastsGoogle podcasts

The coverage surrounding Russell Brand

In light of the recent allegations against comedian and actor Russell Brand, the abuse team have a conversation about how the comedy industry uses humour to abuse and silence women, and has done so for many years.

This week, actor and comedian Russell Brand has found himself in the headlines for allegations of sexual abuse, emotional abuse and assault between 2006 and 2013. The comedian denies the allegations.

Sexual abuse within the comedy circuit

Live comedy’s lack of regulation has enabled sexist and predatory behaviour within the industry. Irish comedian, Ruth Hunter, notes the “everyday sexism” that occurs within the industry – she notes in particular male comedians or hosts introducing performers by commenting on their breasts or by other derogatory or sexist comments, and how also the majority of shows are an all-male line-up.

It is reported that many female comedians say there is nowhere to turn – no human resources department and no union, while the person in charge of the gig or venue may be friends with the perpetrator or may be the perpetrator. Without a channel for making confidential complaints, victims fear they will lose work or face character assassination for speaking out.
A female comedian’s livelihood will depend on ensuring good connections, reputation and always appearing as humorous etc. this can prevent them from coming forward and speaking up about abuse.

Sadly, many entertainment institutions turn a blind eye to sexual abuse and assaults, and protect comedians to protect show ratings and reputations.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch with our specialist sexual abuse lawyers.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


Next steps

We’re here to get things moving. Drop a message to one of our experts and we’ll get straight back to you.

Call us: 033 3016 2222

Message us