Richard Branson Accused of Sexual Assault by Joss Stone Backup Singer

Richard Branson at Spaceport America (Credit: Douglas Messier)

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.

  • Pasi Jokela

    2010?

  • therealdmt

    Scandalous!

  • Elliot R.

    Slow news week? Mr. Messier, you’ve proven yourself to be on the honorable side of the journalism fence by not publishing pictures of that dead pilot. This witch-huntish celebrity gossip doesn’t increase the intelligence or value of the brand you’ve created. It decreases it.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Excessive consumption of alcohol can, and frequently does, make fools of us all. This type of behaviour cannot, and must not, be excused.

  • Douglas Messier

    I wrote about the allegations made against Steve Jurvetson. No fundamental difference. It would have been unfair to write about one and not the other. It is no fun to write about these things. Unpleasant as hell.

    Nothing to do with Mike Alsbury. Ken Brown and I won’t release those photos out of respect for family and friends of the deceased.

    That is the complete opposite of the lack of respect alleged in these incidents involving Branson and Jurvetson. Unpleasant as it is to write about, it is news. And it’s been a very big story of late.

  • Elliot R.

    I wasn’t suggesting the death of the VG pilot was related to this, only meant to highlight how you’ve always seem to handle yourself online with a high degree of class. I’ve seen a lot of pinched faced trolls on here saying all kinds of emotionally charged things and you’ve never taken the bate and started name calling back.

    It’s not fun at all to have people put their hands on you when you don’t want to be touched and of course, alcohol is a hell of a drug. I’m not disputing that. I am however highlighting the lack of class both in how these stories are being reported in mass now and their underlying motivation for reporting them to begin with.

    The burden of proof is on the person making the claim and if that person’s behavior doesn’t match a honest person why even bother listening. I’m talking mainly about the timing. With Steve Jurvetson, there’s truly not enough facts to even talk about it. With Brandon, he seems to have apologized so what’s to talk about?

    I don’t buy the argument that there’s safety in numbers and that’s why we all need to hear about this now. While the American legal system isn’t perfect, these guys aren’t mob bosses who are going to take a hit out on a women they groped. They’re coming out now with this stuff because they realize there’s a audience and they stand to benefit. Get on Oprah and you literally can become a millionaire over night.

    I’ve had women both grab my ass in bars and, in an extreme case hold me down and try to take my close off while I’m verbally stating the order to stop. In both cases alcohol was involved. No critical line was cross that would have justified getting police involved. I think it would be pretty shitty of me, years later, to call these women out in public and embarrass them while pretending that what they did to me was so terrible that society at large needed to recognize it and treat me as if I’m not an emotional adult who can’t stand up for my self.

    The justification that every bodies reporting it isn’t a strong reason to hitch your wagon to it.

    I remember back when Ron Paul was running for president. I watch someone on some news network mention that when ever they do a story about Ron Paul, their website would see a significant increase in traffic, not necessarily because he was that popular but mainly because RP supporters tended to be very tech savoy and knew how to market him online via link dumping.

    Similarly, I suspect the hyper sensitivity to any accusation by a women against a man that’s going on right now is being driven by a similar demographic of net feminists. Whatever this thing is that feminism seems to have transformed into on the internet, it’s going to burn it’s self out eventually regardless of how hard the media placate it. It would be best to be on the right side of it all.

    It’s bad for society in the end because it strongly reinforced the idea that women are the weaker sex, which they’re not. I only bothered to say something because you’ve got class.

    Respecfully.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Excused? It’s the ability to act like this and have the behavior viewed as acceptable that drives many of the rich to put all the time and effort into becoming rich in the first place. I’ll bet this kind of behavior has led to many women accepting his advances. His behavior has probably evolved based on feedback from experience. This problem is not being dealt with in a flat manner. Harassment is subjective, it’s harassment when it’s unwanted. The deciding factor is usually sex appeal and money. Usually. The point being, a lot of women accept boorish behavior and reward it. I’m sure not a few of the men under public fire are saying to themselves that their behavior was accepted and rewarded by the overwhelming vast majority of the women they interacted (harassed) with and that only a few were put off. And I’ll bet their observations are probably accurate (from the boor’s POV) esp when one considers that of the subset of women who did not welcome boorish advances from a particular man a large subset of them would not inform the boor that his advances were unwelcome because of his wealth and/or stature. It’s unfortunate we won’t analyze that aspect of the subject.

  • Hemingway
  • Jacob Samorodin

    So Richard Branson has feet of clay? … I don’t think even he would claim to be a paragon of virtue. Is anyone on this website a paragon of virtue? Anyone here hiding a skeleton in their closet?

  • Hemingway

    Richard Branson: Here’s The Story Behind My Naked Model Kitesurfing Photo:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKlNVfyFzVo

  • Hemingway

    In 2017: ‘Darling, when shall we go to the moon?’ Sarah Harris left red-faced as Sir Richard Branson flirts with her and tells her she ‘must have a crush on him’ on The Project.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-4664784/Sir-Richard-Branson-Sarah-Harris-crush-him.html

  • Hemingway

    In 2017: “Opinion: Virgin and Richard Branson Have a Problem With Women Nobody Talks About.”
    https://skift.com/2017/03/28/virgin-and-richard-branson-have-a-problem-with-women-nobody-talks-about/

  • Hemingway

    In 2013 Virgin America’s Richard Branson wants his fliers to “get lucky” at 35,000 feet. Does this include SpaceShipTwo:

    https://www.cnbc.com/id/100668327

  • Elliot R.

    Did my reply get deleted or did I just not hit submit?

  • Douglas Messier

    I didn’t delete anything. Let me see what’s going on. I don’t know what’s happening. It’s approved but not showing up for some reason.

  • publiusr

    Richard Branson has always been a playboy–so this doesn’t surprise me.
    Then too, we forget Kolyma and the Mittelwerks