Prince Andrew’s PR guru quit because Andrew agreed to the disaster BBC interview

andrew3

Note: please do not threadjack. This story is about the conversation around Prince Andrew’s communications failure.

It’s difficult to know where to start with Prince Andrew’s BBC interview. He came across as a pompous ass, a dull, stupid man and a coward lacking in empathy for the children abused by Jeffrey Epstein (and likely Andrew as well). You can read my coverage here, and you can see the whole video below:

Once the clips came out, I was already thinking “this is a communications disaster.” Once you watch the whole thing, that becomes even clearer. It’s not that “dumb Andrew got slaughtered by a brilliant journalist.” It’s that the interview makes it clear (repeatedly) that there never would have been a good defense. Even if he had told the truth or cried and begged for forgiveness or shown sympathy for the girls and women, it still would have been a horrific interview underlining the point that HE HAS NO DEFENSE. So instead of focusing on the reality that this dull, stupid pervert has always been a waste of time, money and space, people are merely focusing on the PR failure. Personally, I don’t think that’s wrong – the royal family are, at this point, mainly about PR. There are expectations that they’ll be good at the communications business. They are not. This interview underlines that fact. So how bad was all of this behind-the-scenes? Really bad.

The guru hired by Prince Andrew to spearhead a PR ‘fightback’ following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal ‘quit’ just weeks into job ahead of the Duke’s bombshell BBC interview, it was revealed last night. Jason Stein started as Communications Secretary to the Duke in September. But the 28-year-old sensationally left his post two weeks before the Prince’s interview with Emily Maitlis.

His abrupt departure no doubt came as a further blow to the beleaguered Prince. This comes as aides reportedly ‘argued’ as they feared the interview would leave the prince ‘terribly exposed’. One aide meanwhile thought he risked coming across as ‘an entitled idiot’.

Meanwhile, when Newsnight producers first made overtures to the Palace about a possible interview almost a year ago, Andrew’s knee-jerk response was that he didn’t want ‘to be shouted at for half an hour’. So it surprised many when, on Thursday, Andrew finally went toe-to-toe with Emily Maitlis in the middle of Buckingham Palace’s South Drawing Room for an interview about his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the claims – which he has long denied – that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. It was his first public grilling on the subject, the interview of his life in fact, but he was on home turf at least, not in some harshly lit BBC studio. This was the room that Queen Victoria commandeered the day after her coronation in 1838 for the Palace’s first ball. It was perhaps not the best setting for someone seeking to convey humility rather than entitlement, but in the end it was the cross-examination itself that would focus minds.

The Mail on Sunday has been told a similar voluntary sit-down with the FBI is highly unlikely, so after last night’s broadcast – at least as far as Andrew is concerned – the matter is closed. ‘He’s not going to be travelling to America any time soon I can tell you that,’ said one highly placed source. ‘The FBI would question him, it is that simple. They [the Palace] just aren’t going to put him in that position. You can’t have a Royal landing in the US and then being asked to take part in questioning. I think it will be quite a while before he goes there.’

While Andrew initially voiced concerns – at one point he said emphatically: ‘No, we shouldn’t do Newsnight’ – his influential private secretary Amanda Thirsk was enthusiastic and, over time, talked him round. In the end, Andrew followed his private secretary’s advice. ‘She’s like his gatekeeper and everyone knows that in the Palace,’ said another source. Amanda is a force of nature, she’s hugely influential – if Amanda wants something done it gets done. She thinks it is quite simple: that he has apologised for visiting Epstein after his release from prison and has denied all the allegations. She feels there’s nothing to see here. She just thinks the Duke has done nothing wrong… all he did was go and see his friend. He shouldn’t have done it in 2010, he’s apologised.’

[From The Daily Mail]

RIP Amanda, she’ll be blamed for this and she’ll be out of that job soon. She’ll probably resign and willingly take the fall. That’s how it would work anywhere else, but you never know with these a–holes. Can you even imagine working for Andrew and watching this interview and thinking “there, that’s done, we answered every question and now no one will talk about this ever again.” The problem isn’t with the PR, it’s with HIM. And the whole family, quite honestly.

This is a great thread:

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Screencaps courtesy of the BBC interview.

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57 Responses to “Prince Andrew’s PR guru quit because Andrew agreed to the disaster BBC interview”

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  1. Escondista says:

    Hmmm I would have quit because my client is a child rapist.

    • Eleonor says:

      They cover the worst of the worst.
      He quit because he still wants to have a career.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Attention Legal Eagles;

      Is the following statement true legal wise:

      ‘It seems to be forgotten, that Jeffrey Epstein, the offence of which he was charged, and for which he was imprisoned, was soliciting prostitution from minors – that is not the same thing as pedophilia.”

  2. Maxie says:

    The problem with doing an hour long interview is that people will have … an entire hour of material. There’s only so much you can do with a 5 minutes sit down. That was a colossal mistake.

    There’s also this very odd moment around the 29:25 mark when Emily Maitlis lists the three times he slept with the teenage girl. He automatically says “yes” to the first one but acts surprised for the other two. It’s almost as he confirmed that he did sleep with the girl at least one time.The only other time he says “yes” during the entire interview is when Maitlis lists all the Epstein’s properties he visited back in the days (around 6:20). That was a bit bizarre and very telling, IMO.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The FBI are going to take this interview apart and I expect them to legally ask the BBC to hand over all footage from the interview. This ain’t over for Andrew and am sure they will want to speak to Emily and the production crew (who am sure will be protected by the Beeb).

    • Anya says:

      That “Yes” is really weird, I agree.

  3. pearlime says:

    The old guard in the RF have no clue how fast the media of today and its echo chamber the social media work. That and their utter lack of self awareness. His smoke and mirrors approach is so 30 years ago. Without solid proof for everything he has claimed or denied that interview was never gonna work in his favour, never.
    Its gonna be delicious to watch the whole family scramble now, especially once Charles gets back from his tour.

    • noway says:

      As an older PR communications professional, I take offense at this. Even 30 years ago with our slow media no one who was worth their salt in the profession would tell you to do this, and especially would they tell Andrew. Cause it would take about 30 seconds of talking to him to realize he’s not relatable to the average person at all, and his story seems non sensical. I’m pretty sure an average older PR person would be thinking we are going to be talking about his sweat glands on the front page for days now. It would be similar to any lawyer wanting Donald Trump to testify. It’s nuts and malpractice.

      This is all what Andrew wanted, and it’s why the young 28 year old PR person quit. Give him kudos for realizing he couldn’t change this once he did it and got out. I’m sure Andrew wasn’t listening to his PR pros. I believe Andrew’s primary goal was to salvage his reputation, and this long of a format was just too much for anyone, much less Andrew. Now Diana’s long interview worked, but her goal was different. She wanted out of her royal marriage and to go after Charles a bit. Both worked, I don’t think her goal was to make her sound better. Plus, unlike even the most relatable royals today, Meghan and Harry, Diana had a way of communicating with people which was extremely relatable. Andrew doesn’t have that at all. I mean I wouldn’t suggest an hour long interview with Harry about the tabloid press attacking his wife either, and he’s a much better and more sympathetic communicator. It just presents too many pitfalls where you look tone deaf to regular people, even on a topic you are justified in complaining about, plus this one if you knew Epstein at all you should just give a written statement and shut up. Cause it is really too much to go in depth for anyone. I get Alan Dershowitz suing. He’s a lawyer and it’s what he does. If he wins he’ll feel he won, although some still won’t believe him. Still suing is what you do if you are him. Clinton on the other hand, just said one comment and shut up, and you don’t hear him about this now. Sure his reputation is more damaged, but you have to wait it out.

      The good thing about today’s fast paced media cycle is the stories die much quicker and generally unlike days previous they don’t go into much depth. Think about Trump’s impeachment compared to Nixon or even Clinton, less detail cause we can’t connect the dots like we used to. Essentially, people have the attention of gnats. Are we talking about Spacey, Wynn, or even Weinstein unless they are seen in public again. The answer is no! Andrew should have quietly gone a way for a year or more and maybe he can step back in, but who knows. Granted no one who has been accused of anything “criminal” has come back that much yet, but I feel it will happen at some point.

    • TQ says:

      “The old guard in the RF have no clue how fast the media of today and its echo chamber the social media work. That and their utter lack of self awareness.” This! Agree 1000%. SO out of touch.

  4. JemimaLeopard says:

    I do think it’s important we talk about what a PR disaster this is as the media are always banging on about Harry & Meghan’s PR. Also notable that there are denials coming from the palace that this guy was ever even employed. Yet I read a detailed report yday laying out this guys PR plan he had for Andrew for the next few months. BP are scrambling.

    • lisa says:

      I only made it to the 13:00-minute mark. As someone who works in Comms, I am in disbelief. The only conclusion I can come to is that everyone around him is trying to take him down, including the entirety of his own family and all of his staff.

  5. heygingersnaps says:

    The Times says Buckingham Palace insiders, while taken aback by the reaction, believe it will be possible to judge the impact of the interview only after the dust has settled.
    They are bracing themselves for several days of negative publicity, it adds.
    These people really do live in their own little bubble believing their own lies.

    • Chrissy says:

      Delusional is the world. Andrew should be arrested, put on trial and go to jail. Just like anyone else who did what he did. Smug bastard.

    • Sof says:

      I think they still don’t understand that they can’t control the internet as they have always done with the press. As long as people remember his crimes, it will be hard to protect him, how long can they grant him immunity?

    • Beach Dreams says:

      Good lord. “Delusional” doesn’t even begin to describe these people. It was bad enough that Andrew’s own secretary pushed for the interview. The fact that these idiots truly think the negative reaction will just be temporary…

      Also, why scramble to distance the Queen from this interview if they’re just waiting for the dust to settle??? They went from highlighting her approval to claiming she wasn’t involved when the backlash started.

    • noway says:

      In fairness, what should they say after this debacle? This wasn’t a PR move interview as the PR guru quit before it. Clear sign he didn’t approve it. It was an Andrew move, and it backfired stupendously. The announcement wasn’t official just sources, I think they are just trying to float ideas out there to see what works as I am at a PR loss on how to make it better too. I’d probably say nothing officially, and see how much legs it has. Wouldn’t be surprised if we get pictures of the grandkids soon as that seems to make Andrew coverage die down. I’d be leery to put in Meghan and Harry coverage negative or even positive as they are on six week holiday and that probably wouldn’t work as it would seem too obvious and if negative too mean too boot. So thank heaven for that small favor for them. Still betting on Kate, William and kids being front and center a bit.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        The problem is and always has been Andrew himself – his stupidity and his arrogance. I’m enjoying to watch him step in it because he’s scum and he participated in some nasty stuff. He’ll never face justice but at least he can destroy his reputation in the court of public opinion – and he’s doing a bang up job of that all by himself.

  6. Eleonor says:

    The only person who knew how to work an interview was Diana, who trained for months.

    • noway says:

      I said that too, but her goal was much different for her long interview. Her audience was the Queen. She just wanted to make a ruckus to get a divorce and out of the royal family with some path for her life. Trying to make it seem you aren’t guilty of having sex with a 17 year old who was forced into sex slavery when she claims you did would be hard for the most sympathetic person, much less Andrew who has had every privilege in life and many chances most people don’t get.

  7. DaisySharp says:

    The BRF cannot fall fast enough. Do more interviews.

    • xo says:

      It says something, doesn’t it, that the more we know the less we like them. . .

      “Never complain, never explain.”

  8. Rogue says:

    Some royal commentators like lady Colin Campbell have been out on breakfast shows defending Andrew with a dose of victim blaming of course.

    Some are also trying to distance the Queen from it too even though the Newsnight team said it had been approved by the higher ups& he claimed in the interview to have the support of the wider family. Apparently they went to church together but he walked so as not to be pictured with her.

    But a lot of people are sharing old awful stories about him on social media& now a headline is an ex Downing Street aide claims he used this expression ‘n word in a woodpile. I think he may be out of the spotlight for a while including from Sandringham

    • Eleonor says:

      I don’t think so.
      The RF doesn’t understand why this is a disaster.

    • heygingersnaps says:

      I still don’t get why georgia ziadie is still going by lady colin, I wonder if her ex husband lord Colin Campbell gets annoyed whenever she uses his name to grift.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      I am not trying to defend Georgia Ziadie, aka Lady Colin Campbell but I do agree with one point she made, “Andrew is not that bright” and actually is just plain stupid.

      I cannot believe that someone working for the BRF did not step in and stop Andrew from doing this interview.

      • xo says:

        There are conflicting reports, but it seems the Queen was informed ahead of time & didn’t disapprove.

        He, as we often hear, is her favorite.

        Troubling. . .

  9. Jumpingthesnark says:

    The spin doctor quit because what we know about this now is the tip of the iceberg. You cannot spin what Andy did to those girl or girls. It is literally the opposite of the good prince in the fairytales.

  10. 10KTurtle says:

    I question the use of the word “guru” to describe someone who approved the release of the “Nuh-uh, my fingers are fatter than that” defense.

  11. Sof says:

    “One aide meanwhile thought he risked coming across as ‘an entitled idiot’.”

    I like this aide. I bet Andrew is really annoying to work for.

  12. TheOriginalMia says:

    The PR guru knew this was going to be a disaster because he knew there was no defense and…Andrew is a pompous, entitled ass. That came across loud and clear.

  13. Coz' says:

    Thank you so much for the link to the thread. It is indeed really interesting to understand and focus the culture which enabled him to become so entitled and so oblivious to his own sins and failures.
    Andrew is a POS. And so are all the courtiers, aides and family members who fostered his sense of impunity and entitlement. Shame on them all.

  14. Rapunzel says:

    PR wise, it’s a disaster because they don’t get the social media of today creating lasting impressions. Andrew is now a joke meme. The Pizza Express and “I don’t sweat” defense will eternally haunt him. It’s viral. They don’t understand what that means- every event he attends, every appearance he makes will be tainted. There’s no going back.

    • noway says:

      I know everyone thinks it’s social media makes this interview a disaster, but it’s not. It would be a disaster either way. There would be headline after headline about Andrew’s sweat glands. Please!!!! His comment about his sweat glands would go nuts, cause even if true, it is the craziest defense anyone could possibly give.

      Now the only thing the old days may have done is this would not be a story at all. No one would have gone after Epstein or much less the men who bought into it. That is honestly a metoo thing, not really a social media thing as social media was around and a thing when Trump said grab them by the pussy, and he still got elected. Just saying!

      • Rapunzel says:

        Noway- the headlines might be the same, but my point was today’s social media creates viral reputations that are inescapable. When you’re a meme or viral joke, there’s no escape. That’s different from the old days: the viral reminders

      • noway says:

        They are not inescapable to come back from. If anything with the public’s shorter attention span and news cycle people move on quicker. Plus, even the most respectable of public figures, (not Andrew here) are virally mocked and memed by someone some times. Sure most are funny, but back in the day people had that too, SNL or satirical cartoons. Herb Bloch was better than any viral meme you will ever see.

        Also, you risk with viral memes as most are harsh funny, over saturation and it looks like people are piling on. It seems like it may be hard with this story, but it’s possible. Again, people forget as social media has a tendency to preach to your own side of the soapbox, even the viral memes, there is another side out there doing the same thing for their choir and the few in the middle independent thinkers who may run across it. This is what worries me the most about the Trump’s of the world. People forget and preach to their side only.

      • Tourmaline says:

        @noway Agree with you it is a metoo thing indeed. The photo of Andrew and Virginia was out in the media YEARS ago. The whole Epstein thing had died down until Julie K. Brown the journalist with the Miami Herald brought it back in the public eye a year ago with her reporting about how Epstein got a sweetheart deal with the U.S. Attorneys Office back in 2008. That was part of the chain of events that led to Epstein being arrested and charged this July.

    • Chaine says:

      You are so right—- plus now of course DM has dug up a bunch of photos of him from the early aughts looking quite sweaty 😂

  15. Betsy says:

    See, I don’t think the entire BRF PR machine is dumb or inept – witness the Camilla image rehab (that one worked on me!) – but I think here it’s bound to be dumb and inept because Andrew is an entitled monster who’s just not very bright but thinks he is. Sadly but truthfully, if he had followed a several months’ plan of lying low or whatever and not, you know, being all teeth on the way to church with Mummy the day after his pedo best friend got killed, this might have faded away again.

    It’s so so utterly inept, which shouldn’t make me mad on top of his raping teenagers, but it does. It adds an extra layer of “he’s SO obvious SO inept and still nothing can touch him?” anger for me.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      I think it is a combo of a really really nasty situation – you just can’t spin sex slavery and pedophilia in a nice way – and Andrew himself. He’s stupid, arrogant and incredibly entitled. I suspect that he is incredibly hard to manage. He is the epitome of privilege: royal, rich, white and male. Not to mention that he is coddled by his mother who is also the monarch. Liz standing by him is not just her giving him a mother’s support but also giving him the monarch’s support.

  16. Charfromdarock says:

    Andrew thinks he is above PR people and their advice as he does everything else in his life.

  17. Becks1 says:

    The interview was SUCH a bad idea in itself. And, if you are going to insist on doing something like that – prepare for it. With actual answers. You stayed at Epstein’s house because it was convenient??? You didn’t recognize these young girls were being trafficked even though you “know the signs” and can tell when someone is a victim? You didn’t even pay attention to the girls bc you grew up at Buckingham Palace??

    You cant sweat?? You only wear suits in London?? You were at Pizza Express? You DONT REGRET your friendship with Epstein????

    Like, the interview was always going to be a disaster. But Andrew’s arrogance really came through and it was more of a disaster than it might have been. But obviously the main part of the “problem” is that while he could have had better answers to some of those questions (like why he stayed with Epstein), you cant defend something that is indefensible and he can only lie so much.

    No wonder the spin guy quit.

    • Tourmaline says:

      It’s awful… the fact that Amanda Thirsk his private secretary was reported to think the interview was amazingly “raw” in a good way is so incredibly bizarre. But she is known to be an absolute true believer in Andrew’s so-called innocence so again, she is inside that weird bubble with him.
      It’s so laughable that the reported mantra going forward for Andrew’s royal role is “business as usual”. BRF is a joke.

  18. Rapunzel says:

    Another PR mistep: he involved his daughter. So unnecessary and makes things exponentially worse.

  19. Chaine says:

    Even if the PR guy had quit, why didn’t he at least have a lawyer to prepare him for tough questioning? His answers are just ridiculous. I mean come on, he acts offended and says he didn’t throw Maxwell a “birthday party,” no, it was just a plain old weekend at his country castle with dozens of other friends including Epstein where they all killed animals together! Much muuuuch better look than an birthday party, right.

    • noway says:

      He may have and Andrew didn’t listen. I think it’s obvious Andrew didn’t listen to anyone on this.

    • Becks1 says:

      And he kept talking about how he was friend with Maxwell, not really Epstein, but…….where is she?? And why put the focus back on the woman who procured the girls for Epstein?

      @Noway – I agree, I think its clear that Andrew just decided he knew best and that was that.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Exactly why would he think that emphasizing that he was good friends with Ghislaine Maxwell who was the lieutenant of Jeffrey Epstein’s trafficking ring was a good idea?!?!?! And casually sharing that he was just in touch with her a few months ago!

        Emily Maitlis should have said “Oh, now where is Ghislaine these days sir? Can you get her on the phone right now?” Ghislaine is the third person in the incriminating photo with Andrew and Virginia Giuffre!! Ghislaine is the one who trolled around Palm Beach picking up schoolgirls to bring to Epstein!! Andrew and his “advisors” clearly do not have a clue if they thought stressing his connection to Ghislaine was a winner.

  20. SJR says:

    IMO, the spin doctor quit because Andrew would not take his advice.
    How can you do your job when your Boss doesn’t listen to your advice?
    It’s clear to me that PR person knew the interview was a very, very bad idea and when PA insisted on doing it, PR person threw in the towel. I would have too.
    This interview was a sh*t storm. No coming back from this.
    PA has effectively opened a vein on the BRF.
    Scotland Yard and the FBI should subpeona all the royal security teams and their logs on PA.
    Get the crimes and those sick bast*rds all in jail.

    FFS, this is human trafficking and child sexual abuse that went on for years.
    Just ONCE in my lifetime, can the rich go to jail for their crimes?

  21. Miriam says:

    Palace officials & courtiers are scrambling to distance themselves from the interview. Emily just did a interview with GMA repeating they got higher approval even after recording. This will continue to haunt Andy even during Beatrice ‘s wedding (if it happens)
    I predict the courtiers will try to leak Sussexs whereabouts to distract from this..

  22. Marigold says:

    One of the things that struck me about The Crown’s 3rd season (I binged it…no spoilers here, I promise) is that they kinda banged home the idea that the royals truly view themselves as “normal” people. They honestly don’t understand that they are not like other people. They think that because they are humans and because they breathe the same air and walk the same planet…that they are just like everyone else.

    They are not.

    It’s not their “fault” that they don’t understand this because they are literally born into this system that keeps them so removed from anyone who isn’t like them–they have no notion of what the average person in the UK’s life is like, much less anyone else’s.

    I’m not at all shocked that a supremely rich and entitled person like Andrew thought he could just go sit down on television and straighten this whole thing out. I’m also not shocked that he walked out of the interview thinking he’d done just that. His immediate family would’ve thought so, too.

    So of course he ignored the PR pro who was hired to keep him from doing this to himself. It isn’t so much that he thought he was better than the PR pro. It’s that he has a fundamental disconnect in his brain–he thinks these explanations that sound perfectly reasonable to his own mind will sound perfectly reasonable to everyone else, too.

    When you watch interviews of this kind with people who have been accused of crimes (we can look at everything from tax evasion to drug running to Nazi war criminals to serial killers)…there is always this supreme cluelessness that anything they did was wrong. They give some very short little, “Well, it was like this and so I did this,” delivered with a tone of, “You can see how simple this is, right? I did nothing wrong (or what I did was totally understandable) and it’s obvious.”

    They have no idea they sound this ridiculous. They have no understanding that what they did was fundamentally both illegal and immoral.

    It’s sad–and frightening to me–that people can honestly be this entirely clueless and unaware of the reality around them.

    • xo says:

      Yes.

      It’s interesting, though, how quickly things can all unravel & the disconnect can be exposed. . . .

      As one comment says above, “30 seconds of speaking to Andrew” & you realize how entitled & unrelatable he is.

  23. Raina says:

    Thirsk had too much thirst.
    I’m sorry 😉

  24. Nibbi says:

    Monarchy is just so outdated. This sort of privilege is just so outdated.

    This debacle (this dude) = living proof.

    Barf

  25. Nibbi says:

    Also oh mannnnnn that thing about “the walk in the park breakup talk” = sooooo much bs wow.

    it wasn’t a romantic breakup, it was- or should have been — a “you re a convicted sex trafficker so f* off” … he tries to make it sound like he’s so noble for breaking it off like a kind boyfriend or something

    god so embarassing- the thing about how then he stayed at the house- AFTER the “no more having contact” — he’s a crap liar & then he dares talk about the “honorable and right thing to do” …

    … “my tendency to be too honorable” … !!!!! OH WOW HE HAS NO SHAME