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Brand gigs off amid safety concerns

Russell Brand has cancelled several gigs in the Middle East after promoters said they could not guarantee his safety.

The controversial comic's Messiah Complex world tour includes routines inspired by historical figures including Malcolm X and Gandhi and originally included dates in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon, but they have now been scrapped.

Russell told Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon show: "The venues contacted us to say we can no longer guarantee your safety."

Earlier this week, his ex-wife, Katy Perry, revealed that Russell told her he was divorcing her in a text message.

The couple split just 14 months after getting married in India in 2010.

The 28-year-old pop star told the US edition of Vogue magazine that Russell, 38, was not comfortable with the singer being his equal.

"Let's just say I haven't heard from him since he texted me saying he was divorcing me December 31 2011," she told the magazine.

Katy said the British comedian was "hysterical in some ways until he started making jokes about me" when he did not know that she was in the audience at one of his shows.

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