One of Joss Stone’s backup singers, Antonia Jenae, has accused Virgin Galactic Founder Richard Branson of “sexual assault” in an incident she says occurred on the billionaire’s private Caribbean island in 2010.
“We were in the pool and there was a big, beautiful statue of a goddess there with her boobs out.
“Richard Branson tried to get me to show him my boobs and I said: ‘No!’ I was wearing a one-piece swimsuit and at the time I was very heavy chested.”
Mum-of-two Antonia said: “We were by the bar and he was saying bye to everyone. He came up to me and put his face in my breasts.
“He went ‘brrrrrr’ and just walked away. It was surreal, totally out of the blue. Joss and I were like, ‘What the hell was that?!’ Everyone was wondering why I wasn’t angry because I’m usually a firebrand. But I was just too shocked.”
Antonia said: “His behaviour was disgusting. I feel like it was sexual assault.”
A Virgin Group spokesman issued the following statement on behalf of Branson:
“Richard has no recollection of this matter. 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. Richard apologises if anyone felt that way.”
The allegations come on the heels of news of an incident in an Australian restaurant involving Branson that was described by Formula One driver Jenson Button in his new book, “”Life to the Limit.” Button said the “very, very drunk” billionaire approached his future wife Jessica Michibata and began flirting with her.
“He lurched over to our table and plonked himself down and started behaving like a party-starter. I had to make a toilet visit so I didn’t see what happened next, which was that he leaned over to Jessica and told her, ‘Stop staring at me.’
“Although Jessica was a model she was quite shy, so this was making her feel uncomfortable. Especially when Sir Richard followed up his blatant flirting by putting his hand on her face. ‘Look, I think you better leave,’ warned my manager Richard, ‘or you’re going to get chinned when Jenson gets back.'”
Button stressed that he wouldn’t have punched Branson, but he “was furious” to see his hand on his ex-wife’s face. Button told Branson “enough” and that it was “well out of order.”
He continued: “But he was so hammered that he simply didn’t understand.”
Button reports that Branson later apologized for the incident, and said he gave up drinking for months after the encounter.
Branson includes a brief account of the incident in his new biography, “Finding My Virginity.” In addition to the encounter with Michibata, Branson says he drunkenly wandered off with a baby after its parents had handed the child to him to take a picture. The billionaire also claims he actually pissed all over a man’s pants after the person had asked for his autograph while at a bathroom urinal.