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Richard Branson accused of sexual harassment, says ‘no recollection’ of incident

Founder of Virgin Group accused of putting his face in the breasts of an American singer.

world Updated: Nov 28, 2017 11:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Agencies, New Delhi
Entrepreneur Richard Branson announces the LauncherOne cargo spacecraft during a Virgin Galactic news conference at the Farnborough Airshow 2012 in southern England.
Entrepreneur Richard Branson announces the LauncherOne cargo spacecraft during a Virgin Galactic news conference at the Farnborough Airshow 2012 in southern England. (Reuters file photo)
         

Billionaire businessman Richard Branson says he has “no recollection” of an episode at his Caribbean home in 2010 that led a woman to accuse him of sexual assault.

Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, was accused of putting his face in the breasts of an American singer who was working as a backup for a music group attending a party at Branson’s Necker Island, CNN Money reported.

“He went ‘brrrrrr’ and just walked away. It was surreal, totally out of the blue,” Antonia Jenae told The Sun, the British tabloid.

“His behavior was disgusting. I feel like it was sexual assault,” she said. “Everyone was wondering why I wasn’t angry because I’m usually a firebrand. But I was just too shocked.”

CNN Money quoted this response of a spokesperson for Virgin said in response:

“Richard has no recollection of this matter and neither do his family and friends, who were with him at the time. There would never have been any intention to offend or make anyone feel uncomfortable in any way and Richard apologizes if anyone felt that way during their time on the island.”

Jenae made the allegations in a Facebook post on October 16 that used the hashtag #metoo.

“He kept trying to convince me to show him my boobs like this Indian statute (sic) he had at his pool on his island, I took it as a ‘joke’,” she wrote of Branson in the post.

“As everyone was saying goodnight, he proceeded to ‘motorboard’ my breasts with his face,” she continued. “I was so shocked. I think everyone was, no one said or did anything.”

Since The New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, multiple men in entertainment, media and politics in the US and beyond have faced allegations ranging from inappropriate behavior to forced sexual misconduct to rape.

Women have posted their allegations of abuse and harassment on the social media using the hashtag #metoo.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 11:55 IST

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