Britain’s Prince Andrew sparks backlash after ‘disastrous’ TV interview

(file photo: Reuters)
Updated 17 November 2019

Britain’s Prince Andrew sparks backlash after ‘disastrous’ TV interview

  • The prince was lambasted from all quarters for his lack of judgment and empathy with the victims
  • The unprecedented interview was the first time Andrew has answered questions about Virginia Robert’s allegations

LONDON: Britain’s Prince Andrew provoked a backlash Sunday following an extraordinary TV interview in which he denied having sex with an alleged victim of the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as public relations experts branded the hour-long exchange “disastrous.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s second son was lambasted from all quarters for his lack of judgment and empathy with the victims, his extraordinary defense that he was at a high street pizza restaurant, never sweated and claim that he only stayed at the sex offender’s home because he was ‘too honorable’.
The unprecedented interview was the first time Andrew has answered questions about Virginia Robert’s allegations.
It was a PR gamble intended to clear his name but in attempting to justify his relationship with Epstein, Andrew appeared Sunday to have opened himself up to even greater criticism.
Roberts, now Giuffre, claims she was forced to have sex with the royal on three occasions — in London in 2001 when she was 17, in New York and on Epstein’s private Caribbean island.
PR consultant Mark Borkowski said the exchanges were “like watching a man in quick sand” and that he had “never seen anything so disastrous.”
Meanwhile media lawyer Mark Stephens, who represented James Hewitt after his alleged affair with Princess Diana, called the interview “a catastrophic error.”
“(He) seemed unconcerned by the seriousness of the matter, laughing and smiling at several points during the interview... and expressed no regrets or concern about Epstein’s victims,” added The Guardian.
“Not one single word of remorse,” screamed the front page of the Mail on Sunday following the interview on the BBC’s Newsnight program on Saturday evening.
Andrew, 59, who is eighth in line to the throne, has been dogged for years by critism of his links to Epstein, who was found dead in a New York jail in August.
Giuffre, who alleges that Epstein abused her for years and farmed her out to his wealthy friends, first made her allegations against Prince Andrew, who has repeatedly denied them, in a 2015 US civil court deposition and has repeated them in more recent TV interviews.
“I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened,” Andrew said referring to her claim that they had sex, adding he had “no recollection” of having met her.
The prince told interviewer Emily Maitlis he was in fact “at home with the children” on the March 2001 night in question, after earlier taking his daughter Princess Beatrice to a pizza restaurant.
He denied they had shared a sweaty dance at a London nightclub on the basis he cannot sweat due to a condition related to having fought in the 1982 Falklands War.
And he said a picture showing him with his arm around Giuffre, with Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell in the background, was “a photograph of a photograph of a photograph,” hinting that it could have been doctored.
Epstein, a US multi-millionaire, pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring a girl under the age of 18 for prostitution and served 13 months in a US prison before being released on probation.
A coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
Nonetheless Andrew, who had hosted Epstein at Windsor Castle, and remained in contact after he was convicted, expressed little regret for the friendship, telling Maitlis it had “seriously beneficial outcomes” unrelated to the controversies.
Jack Scarola, a lawyer for Giuffre, told The Times on Saturday Andrew should “submit to an interview under oath with the investigating authorities” in the US who continue to probe the Epstein scandal.
Andrew said he would “in the right circumstances” but added he was “bound by what my legal advice is.”
The prince also faced uncomfortable questions over staying with Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse shortly after his release from prison, when he was captured on video waving goodbye to a woman at the front door.
A witness has described seeing Andrew getting a foot massage from a young Russian woman there.
He repeatedly insisted he was “not close” to the disgraced financier and that his home was simply “a convenient place to stay.”
Andrew also claimed he spent several days there to end their friendship face-to-face — in an “honorable” way — but ultimately conceded it was “the wrong thing to do.”
“It was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family and we try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down,” he said.


Turkey determined to control social media platforms, Erdogan says

Updated 01 July 2020

Turkey determined to control social media platforms, Erdogan says

  • In April, the AK Party included similar measures on social media in a draft law mainly about economic measures against the coronavirus outbreak

ISTANBUL: Turkey will introduce regulations to control social media platforms or shut them down, President Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday, pressing ahead with government plans after he said his family was insulted online.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan’s son-in-law, said on Twitter on Tuesday that his fourth child had been born. Following the tweet, some users insulted Albayrak’s wife Esra.
Users of 11 out of 19 accounts determined to have shared content that insulted Albayrak and his family were detained, Turkish police headquarters said in a statement on Wednesday.
Speaking to members of his AK Party, Erdogan repeated that his party would introduce new regulations to control the use of social media, adding that an increase of “immoral acts” on the platforms in recent years was due to a lack of regulations.
“These platforms do not suit this nation. We want to shut down, control (them) by bringing (a bill) to parliament as soon as possible,” he said.

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He said social media companies would be forced to appoint representatives in Turkey to respond to legal requests, which he said were currently ignored.
“We are determined to do whatever is necessary for social media platforms to set up fiscal and legal representation in our country. We will implement access ban, legal and fiscal penalties after completion of the regulation,” Erdogan said.
In April, the AK Party included similar measures on social media in a draft law mainly about economic measures against the coronavirus outbreak. The draft law required companies to appoint representatives or have their bandwidth slashed by up to 95%, which would effectively make them inaccessible.
The measures were later removed from the draft law but opposition members said they would come back on the agenda.
Ankara strictly polices social media content, especially during periods such as military operations and the current coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey fiercely criticized Twitter in June for suspending more than 7,000 accounts that supported Erdogan, saying the company was smearing the government and trying to redesign Turkish politics.