Richard Branson responds to claim that he sexually assaulted Joss Stone’s backing singer

Billionaire accused of "motorboating" backing singer's breasts

Richard Branson has responded to accusations of sexual assault made by Joss Stone‘s backing singer, saying that he has “no recollection” of the alleged incident but apologises if he made anyone feel “uncomfortable”.

Backing singer Antonia Jenae, 44, has accused Virgin founder and billionaire Branson of inappropriate behaviour at a party held on Necker Island, an island privately owned by Branson in the British Virgin Islands, in 2010. Jenae claims to have attended the party with Stone after the pair played the Go Green festival on the nearby island of Tortola.

Jenae accuses Branson of “motorboating” her breasts and begging her to take her top off. “It was surreal, totally out of the blue,” Jenae told The Sun. “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.”

“His behaviour was disgusting. I feel like it was sexual assault,” Jenae added. “This needs to stop. I want everyone else to know what Richard Branson did. I don’t want him to do this to anyone else. He is a man in a powerful position.”

A spokesperson for Branson has said: “Joss Stone, members of her family and band were invited to Necker in June 2010. Everyone appeared to enjoy their time. 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.”

Stone hasn’t addressed the claims but the Virgin spokesperson released an additional statement from the singer’s father Richard Stoker, who was also among the guests. Stoker said: “Joss and the group had a wonderful afternoon. Everybody entered into the party spirit. It was wonderful getting to know Richard and his family.”