Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

PR expert on Duke of York interview: It was like watching a man in quicksand

Mark Borkowski said he had ‘never seen anything so disastrous’.

The Duke of York spoke about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (Mark Harrison/BBC/PA)
The Duke of York spoke about his links to Jeffrey Epstein in an interview with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis (Mark Harrison/BBC/PA)

By Luke Powell, PA

A public relations expert has branded the Duke of York’s interview over his links with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein as “like watching a man in quicksand”.

PR and crisis consultant Mark Borkowski said Andrew’s appearance on BBC Newsnight was a lesson on “how not to do” public relations.

The duke’s long-awaited appearance on the show saw him tell presenter Emily Maitlis that he had no regrets about his friendship with Epstein, but admitted it was wrong to visit the convicted sex offender for a final time.

bpanews_0bfcc321-82bb-4bd5-b5f0-863b187c230f_embedded248363797
Jeffrey Epstein (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP)

Speaking about the interview, Mr Borkowski said: “I have never seen anything so disastrous. For any students of PR, that is how not to do it.

“It was like watching a man in quicksand and unfortunately, I don’t think anyone would have thrown him a line to get him out.”

Mr Borkowski said he would not have advised Andrew to do the interview, adding that his comments on the show will “haunt him” in the future.

“I feel sorry for a lot of charities that got on well him,” Mr Borkowski said. “He [Andrew] has done remarkable work for charity, but whether or not he can be an ambassador again after that…

“This really does park the bus across his ability to do the work many people have benefited from.”

Mr Borkowski said his advice to the duke would be to “keep a low profile”, switch off his phone and not look at the papers, adding: “It’s going to be a very ugly day tomorrow”.

During the interview on Saturday, the duke faced questions about Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre.

She is one of 16 women who says she was abused by the disgraced financier, and Mrs Giuffre, formerly known as Virginia Roberts, alleges the royal had sex with her when she was under age.

The duke denied he slept with Mrs Giuffre on three separate occasions when quizzed by Maitlis, saying one encounter did not happen as he had taken his daughter Princess Beatrice to Pizza Express in Woking for a party, and they spent the rest of the day together.

When asked by if he regretted the “whole friendship with Epstein”, the duke replied: “Now, still not and the reason being is that the people that I met and the opportunities that I was given to learn either by him or because of him were actually very useful.”

PA

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph