- More than a dozen businesses, charities, and universities are scrambling to distance themselves from Prince Andrew after the airing of his disastrous interview about Jeffrey Epstein.
- In the “BBC Newsnight” interview, Andrew expressed remorse over remaining friends with Epstein. However, he did not seem to sympathize with Epstein’s victims, and gave bizarre alibis for a claim from a woman who says she was trafficked to have sex with Andrew.
- These are all the businesses and universities that have cut ties or distanced themselves from the prince in light of the interview.
- Scroll down to see the full list.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Prince Andrew’s reputation is swiftly collapsing in the wake of his disastrous interview with the BBC, where he openly discussed his friendship with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
In the “BBC Newsnight” interview, which aired Saturday, Andrew expressed remorse over staying friends with Epstein, even after he become a convicted sex offender, but denied meeting Virginia Giuffre, the woman who said she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17.
The Duke of York was also slammed for not appearing sympathetic to Epstein’s victims and for relying on excuses, including being at a Pizza Express party and an apparent inability to sweat, to disprove Giuffre’s allegation.
Multiple firms have since distanced themselves from Andrew, who runs or sits on the board of dozens of charities and universities.
At least six businesses have ended their partnerships with Andrew’s pet project
Pitch@Palace, Andrew’s charity for tech startups and investors, has suffered the most from the “BBC Newsnight” interview.
Here’s a list of firms that have ended their sponsorships of the charity:
- Accounting firm KPMG, which had previously been listed as a “founding partner” of the charity, according to a cached version of the website. Sky News first reported on the severed ties on Monday.
- Standard Chartered, previously listed as a “strategic partner” of the charity, will not renew its Pitch@Palace sponsorship when it expires next month, “for commercial reasons,” the bank told Business Insider in a Wednesday statement.
- Cisco announced on Monday that it had already severed ties with Pitch@Palace, CNN reported. “Cisco made the decision not to renew its support of Pitch@Palace in April 2019 and our final engagement with the program was in June 2019,” the American tech firm said, according to CNN.
- Advertising Week Europe, which had hosted multiple events with Pitch@Palace in the past and was previously listed as a “supporter” of the charity. “We can confirm that Pitch@Palace will not be held as part of Advertising Week Europe 2020,” a spokesman told MailOnline and The Drum Tuesday. Adweek execs will not invite Andrew to their four-day summit in London next March, MailOnline reported.
- Bond University in Queensland, Australia, decided not to renew its partnership with Pitch@Palace next year “in light of recent events,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) and The Guardian reported.
- The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia also said it would no longer work with the charity, AFP and The Guardian reported, but did not say whether it was in light of the “BBC Newsnight” interview.
- Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, said in a Wednesday statement that it had “today advised Buckingham Palace it would not continue its participation in Pitch@Palace in 2020,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
- “In the current circumstances we have decided that our efforts in [fostering tech innovation] are best served through other means,” it said. The university had welcomed Andrew to its campus as recently as this October.
It’s not entirely clear when KPMG and Standard Chartered’s decisions were made. The BBC reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources, that both those firms chose to end their partnerships before the airing of the interview.
KPMG declined to comment on the reports. A representative for Buckingham Palace told Business Insider on Tuesday: “KPMG’s sponsorship contract with Pitch@Palace finished at the end of October.” The “BBC Newsnight” interview was aired November 16.
Standard Chartered told Business Insider it is not commenting on the timing of their decision to cut ties with Pitch@Palace.
Cisco’s statement also suggests that it chose to stop working with Andrew long before the airing of his interview. But the timing of these announcements appear to show a public distancing from the prince after the event.
At least four other firms are reviewing their ties to Pitch@Palace
- AstraZeneca, a UK-headquartered pharmaceutical company, told Business Insider in a Tuesday statement: “Our three-year partnership with Pitch@Palace is due to expire at the end of this year and is currently being reviewed.”
- The University of Wollongong, another Australian partner university, said it was reviewing its future work with Pitch@Palace, The Guardian reported.
- Barclays is also “very concerned about the potential effect” of Andrew’s association with Pitch@Palace, the FT reported, citing an unnamed person who was briefed on the matter.
- Aon asked for its logo to be removed from Pitch@Palace’s website. “Aon is not a partner to Pitch@Palace and never has been, which is why we asked for the logo to be removed from the website,” the insurance company told Business Insider on Tuesday.
Another Pitch@Palace corporate sponsor, which was unnamed but identified as an “prominent backer,” is trying to get the charity to “push out the Duke” to save the venture, the FT reported.
“We’re pushing for Pitch@Palace to push out the Duke because it’s a very good programme that does good work,” the source told the FT.
In fact, Pitch@Palace’s web page listing its corporate supporters completely vanished on Tuesday.
An archived version of the page from June 2019, however, showed other firms including Air Asia, Bank of China, and the Chinese tech firms JD.com and Tencent, as “strategic partners” of the charity.
Business Insider has contacted all these companies for comment on the future of their work with Pitch@Palace.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told Business Insider on Tuesday that “a full program of Pitch@Palace events” would continue across the UK. They have not yet responded to further questions on whether the charity would continue operations around the world.
And even if the charity continues as normal, it’s likely to do so with less funding and under a dark cloud.
Outdoor charities, universities, and the English National Ballet are examining their ties with Andrew
The London Metropolitan University, where Andrew is a patron, is reviewing his position at a board meeting next week, MailOnline reported on Tuesday.
“The University opposes all forms of discrimination, abuse, human trafficking and any activity that is contrary to the University’s values,” a university spokesman told MailOnline.
The student union at the University of Huddersfield, where Andrew serves as Chancellor, on Monday voted to lobby the prince to resign from his role.
The motion said, according to ITV: “We as students at the University of Huddersfield and members of Huddersfield Students’ Union should not be represented by a man with ties to organized child sexual exploitation and assault.”
They added that Andrew is “not the sort of role model students should have,” MailOnline reported. Students are also protesting Andrew on Twitter under the hashtag #NotMyChancellor.
A spokesman for the university told Business Insider in a statement: “We are aware of the motion passed by the Huddersfield Students’ Union at their meeting on Monday regarding the Chancellor. We always listen to our students’ views and concerns and we will now be consulting with the Union.”
The Outward Bound Trust, the British outdoor-activity charity of which Andrew is a patron, also confirmed to Business Insider on Tuesday that it had scheduled a board meeting to reconsider their future relationship.
Senior officials at the English National Ballet are calling on Andrew to be removed as a patron following the interview, The Times of London reported Wednesday.
The National Ballet works a lot with young people, and trustees and staff fear that Andrew’s reputation could affect the organization, The Times said.
“Everyone is hoping that it can be resolved without requiring collective discussion,” The Times cited an unnamed source as saying. “But at some point it will require that discussion if he does not stand down. The trouble is he has a thick skin and I am sure he would be reluctant to.”
The English National Ballet has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Two people have resurfaced past allegations of misconduct by Andrew from many years ago
Andrew’s reputation took another beating earlier this week after two former UK government officials alleged, separately, that the prince had given racist remarks to people of color in the past.
Rohan Silva, a former UK government official of Sri Lankan descent, on Monday accused Andrew of using a racist slur in a meeting and telling him to stop “playing the white man.”
Silva, at the time an aide to Prime Minister David Cameron, wrote in the Evening Standard that Andrew told him “with a smile” while discussing international trade: “If you’ll pardon the expression, that really is the n—– in the woodpile.”
The prince had told him, according to Silva: “What you have got to remember, is that you’ll never get anywhere by playing the white man.”
Buckingham Palace said Silva’s account was untrue.
Jacqui Smith, the UK Home Secretary from 2007 to 2009, told LBC on Tuesday that during a state banquet for Saudi Arabia’s royal family, Andrew had made a joke that included “a comment about camels” that left everyone there “slack-jawed.” MailOnline reported on the account.