Prince Andrew.
  • Prince Andrew gave a high-profile interview to BBC presenter Emily Maitlis, speaking publicly for the first time about his association with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The interview aired on Saturday.
  • The Duke of York also answered Maitlis' questions about the sexual abuse allegations he is facing by one of Epstein's alleged sex-trafficking victims.
  • Viewers, the media, and PR experts alike dubbed the interview a "car-crash," with many in agreement that his comments and perceived lack of empathy for Epstein's victims were offputting and made the prince look even worse.
  • A representative for Prince Andrew did not immediately reply to Business Insider's request for comment.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.

Prince Andrew's attempts to stem the slew of negative press he's received over his association with late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has turned into a "PR disaster."

In a nearly hourlong Newsnight special interview with BBC presenter Emily Maitlis that aired Saturday, the Duke of York spoke publicly and answered questions for the first time about his friendship with Epstein and the sexual abuse allegations made against the royal himself. Most notably, Prince Andrew said that he has "no recollection" of having met Virginia Giuffre, an American woman who alleges that she was subjected to abuse by Epstein and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was underage.

The duke had previously "emphatically denied" these allegations (which first circulated widely in 2015) via a Buckingham Palace spokesman and apologised for his friendship with Epstein, which continued even after Epstein was a registered sex offender.

In the BBC interview, the prince also offered several extremely specific alibis in an attempt to "prove" he never had sex with Giuffre while she was underage. On the day of one particular alleged encounter, the prince said, he was "at home" with his children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, after having taken Beatrice out for pizza. He claimed to remember the outing "weirdly distinctly" because it was an "unusual thing" for him to do.

The reaction and backlash to Prince Andrew's "car-crash" BBC interview was near immediate. The Financial Times reported that the royal "is losing corporate support for his charitable work as companies including KPMG and Aon distance themselves from the Queen's second son in order to protect their reputations." Bloomberg's James Ludden called the high-profile interview "a farce that threatens to be the British royal family's biggest public relations disaster since its handling of the death of Princess Diana in 1997."

Criticism similarly poured in on social media, particularly on Twitter.

"I expected a train wreck,'' Charlie Proctor, editor of the Royal Central website, which reports on the British monarchy, tweeted on Saturday. "That was a plane crashing into an oil tanker, causing a tsunami, triggering a nuclear explosion-level bad."

As Business Insider's Sahar Esfandiari previously reported, the interview has seemingly intensified attacks on Prince Andrew, with many noting that his alibis seem implausible and that he didn't express sympathy for the alleged victims of Epstein's sex-trafficking, including by trivialising the situation when he referred to Epstein's crimes as "unbecoming" conduct.

A spokesperson for Prince Andrew didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Watch the full interview here:

    Receive a daily email with all our latest news: click here.

    Also from Business Insider South Africa: