The possible involvement in a abuse scandal and its handling are increasingly becoming a problem for the British Prince Andrew. Several companies and universities apparently no longer want to be associated with him.
The affair began with another investigation in the case of Jeffrey Epstein. Already convicted as a sex offender, the US real estate entrepreneur has been accused of forcing underage girls into prostitution (read more about the Epstein case here).
Prince Andrew was one of Epstein's many celebrity friends and is therefore criticized. There had been shots showing Andrew with Epstein or in his New York estate, even after the multimillionaire had already served his first jail sentence for the allegations.
Already in summer, the second eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II had felt obliged to an explanation and claimed to have known nothing of the machinations Epstein.
Last Saturday, Prince Andrew finally gave the BBC an interview in which he tried to defend himself against the allegations. But the interview was a PR disaster - the criticism of his TV appearance was devastating (read an analysis here). Now his former partners are responding - including several universities:
- Australian Bond University said it no longer wanted to work with Andrew's Pitch @ Palace business development initiative. "In the light of recent events," one would not participate, said a spokesman.
- The Australian Murdoch University informed according to own data the Buckingham palace that it would likewise not further take part in the initiative.
- Earlier, London Metropolitan University announced that it would scrutinize Prince Andrew's position as patron at the next board meeting next week. The university distanced itself from "any form of discrimination, abuse, trafficking and any act that violates their values," said a spokesman.
- Students from Huddersfield University in northern England meanwhile demanded the resignation of Prince Andrew as patron. He was because of the abuse allegations as a representative of the university "absolutely inappropriate".
Companies also broke away from Andrew's projects:
- The Bank Standard Chartered called "commercial reasons" for the decision not to join Pitch @ Palace any longer.
- Insurance giant AON, according to a Financial Times report, has asked for its logo to be removed from the Andrew Pitch @ Palace initiative website.
- Telecommunications company BT Group said it was putting the support for Andrew's education project "iDEA" to the test. Further cooperation is possible if there is another patron.