BT says it will stop sponsoring an award fronted by Prince Andrew if he does not step down as patron.
It follows the Duke of York’s interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Telecoms giant BT was a corporate sponsor of the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), which develops workplace skills. Prince Andrew is the patron and the award’s website links to the duke’s own site.
BT told Sky News it was “reviewing” its relationship and may continue its work “in the event of a change in their patronage”.
it comes as three Australian universities joined the list of organisations distancing themselves from Prince Andrew.
KPMG and Standard Chartered this week ended their sponsorship of the duke’s Pitch@Palace initiative – a Dragon’s Den-style event where entrepreneurs meet investors and mentors to boost their company.
Bond University, the University of Wollongong (UoW) and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), who are listed as partners on its website, have also now either ended their relationships with Pitch@Palace Australia or will not be continuing it in the future.
A spokesman for Perth’s Murdoch University, which is also listed online as a partner, said it was reviewing its support ahead of 2020.
Pitch@Palace Australia did not respond to queries about its ongoing operation after the latest breakaways. On Monday, Buckingham Palace had confirmed that the Pitch@Palace initiative would continue.
In the UK, a number of other UK universities are considering their positions over ties with the Duke of York.
In a statement, BT said: “We have been working with the company since its launch in 2017 and our dealings have been with its executive directors not its patron, the Duke of York.
“As a leading provider of online digital skills training, iDEA was a natural partner for our new Skills for Tomorrow programme.
“However in light of recent developments we are reviewing our relationship with the organisation and hope that we might be able to work further with them, in the event of a change in their patronage.”
During the interview on BBC’s Newsnight, Prince Andrew did not show remorse over his friendship with the paedophile who died in prison earlier this year.
Billionaire Epstein was awaiting trial accused of trafficking girls as young as 14 for sex and had previously served time in prison in 2008 for prostituting underage girls.
In the interview, the Queen’s son said that Epstein’s house had been “a convenient place to stay” in 2010 when he went to end their friendship.
A Sky News poll found that just 6% of the public believe Prince Andrew‘s explanation of the friendship.
He also denied he had met Virginia Roberts-Giuffre, who claimed she had been trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with a number of his associates, including Prince Andrew, when she was 17.
The duke strongly denies any accusations of wrongdoing, but US lawyers for Epstein’s victims are urging Prince Andrew to tell US officials what he knows.
Lady Victoria Hervey, who once dated the duke, has admitted she felt like she was being watched by “hidden cameras” when she stayed at Epstein’s apartment in New York.
The socialite told Good Morning Britain: “I did feel very uncomfortable staying there at the time. I cut my trip short, I felt like I was being watched, like there were cameras, hidden cameras.
“I left after about 10 days or so and moved in with a friend of mine.”
She defended the prince, saying she thought on watching his interview: “There is no way if he is guilty that he would go onto television and do an interview like that. There’s no way.
“I think the public already made their decision a long time ago and thought he was guilty… he didn’t really give the public what they wanted in respect to, you know, actually having any kind of remorse about these girls and things.
“That’s why there has been a backlash.”
Late on Monday evening, another woman came forward claiming to be one of Epstein’s victims, and encouraged Prince Andrew to speak to US police.
News reporter @sanyaburgess BT and three Australian universities have joined the list of organisations distancing themselves from Prince Andrew after his interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Telecoms giant BT was a corporate sponsor of the Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA), which develops workplace skills.