Russell Brand has earned a following by talking about his drug abuse and sex life. Many people in the UK believed the funny man went too far when he conducted a prank phone call with television host Jonathan Ross on their popular BBC radio show.
BBC Director General says stars' salaries will fall
The practical joke call involved lewd comments about actor Andrew Sachs granddaughter. Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross tried to fix the damage by apologizing for their behavior but the damage was already done. Prime Minister Gordon Brown demanded the BBC take "appropriate action" over the lewd phone calls by its star presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to the Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. The intervention of the Prime Minister was viewed at Westminster as a direct challenge to the BBC to discipline or suspend the pair, after the number of complaints from the public about their conduct rose above 10,000.
Mr Brown also accused the BBC of "unacceptable behaviour" as the pressure intensified across the political spectrum for decisive action from the corporation.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross Phone Call (UNCUT)
His statement marked a significant escalation of the row, which was sparked
after Ross and Brand left a series of obscene messages on the answering
machine of Mr Sachs, 78, in which they alleged that Brand had slept with his
23-year-old granddaughter Georgina Baillie. source
Russell Brand resigned from his job. Jonathan Ross was suspended and will lose $2.4 million dollars after being banned from his lucrative television and radio appearances.
The Telegraph UK gives their perspective on the damage from the prank.
Andrew Sachs's reply to Russell Brand + Jonathan Ross Call
Russell Brand Resigns From BBC After Abuse On Andrew Sachs
Now that the dust is finally settling on the Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand answer-phone scandal, it is possible to reckon the damage.
Brand's head, which with its floating ringlets always seemed pre-fashioned for the guillotine, has rolled. So has that of the Radio 2 controller, Lesley Douglas. Ross, meanwhile, has been suspended in mid-air, rendered temporarily dumb.
It did not surprise me that Ross and Brand should inflict such a degrading stunt upon a 78-year-old man, Andrew Sachs, nor that they imagined they could get away with it.
Ross had, after all, previously got away with asking David Cameron, the leader of the Opposition, whether he masturbated over the image of Margaret Thatcher.
What did surprise me was the substantial number of people - including a vocal band of forgettable comedians - who still saw fit to defend the pair's behaviour as "just having a laugh" or "pushing the boundaries".
This, some would give us to understand, is the edgy nature of modern comedy. Yet the curious thing is that what Ross and Brand did was not modern in the least.
It was certainly in bad taste, but it was also misogynistic in an ancient way. To taunt a grandfather by informing him in the crudest terms that you have slept with his granddaughter is something a boss-eyed bully might have done to a peasant in a medieval village. source
The woman, a mere chattel, has been "had"; the patriarchal honour has been cruelly ridiculed. source
Following a turbulent day in which he was suspended from his weekly radio show by the BBC's director general, comedian Russell Brand has severed his links with the pubcaster, resigning from his show with immediate effect.
Offering "nothing but love and contrition," the host of last month's MTV Video Music Awards said he took "complete responsibility" for the obscene calls left on the phone of "Fawlty Towers" actor Andrew Sachs and said that he hoped the BBC will endure "less forensic wrath" now that he has resigned.
"I got a bit caught up in the moment and forgot that at the core of the rude comments and silly songs were the real feelings of a beloved and brilliant comic actor and a very sweet and big-hearted young woman," Brand said, ending his statement with the salutation "Hare Krishna."
The announcement came late in a day dominated by the row over the BBC's decision to broadcast a series of obscene phone calls in which both Brand and chat show host Jonathan Ross bragged about Brand's sexual relationship with Sachs' granddaughter.
The row, which has generated more than 18,000 viewer complaints, came after 36 hours of near-unprecedented pressure on the BBC to act.
After more than a day of virtual silence in which BBC bosses refused all interview requests, director general Mark Thompson issued an apology to Sachs and his family Wednesday morning.
He also announced that Ross and Brand were to be suspended, pending the results of an investigation into how the calls ended up on air.
Thompson is cutting short his holiday to return to London to present the BBC's inquiry into the matter to its oversight committee, the BBC Trust, on Thursday morning.
In a statement, Thompson said he offered a "personal and unreserved apology to Andrew Sachs, his family and to license fee payers for the completely unacceptable broadcast on BBC Radio 2."
"This is not a marginal case. It is clear from the views expressed by the public that this broadcast has caused severe offence and I share that view," Thompson added.
After Brand's resignation, Ross made his first public statement on the matter, having apologized personally to Sachs earlier this week.
Separately, Georgina Baillie, Sachs' granddaughter, told the Sun newspaper that the two presenters who had boasted about her sexual relationship with Brand to her grandfather should lose their jobs.
"My grandfather is really upset and says he wants the whole situation to end. It has been awful for him. I will be speaking to him to ask whether we should complain to police and we'll be making a decision as a family," she told the newspaper.
"We're very close, and I can't tell you how much it hurts to know they were so unkind to such a sweet person. They should at least pay for what they've done with their jobs," she added. source