Companies Abandon Prince Andrew After Calamitous Epstein Interview

Companies Abandon Prince Andrew After Calamitous Epstein Interview

LONDON — Prince Andrew came under heightened pressure on Tuesday as the repercussions of a disastrous interview about his friendship with the disgraced Manhattan financier Jeffrey Epstein spread amid calls that he testify to the F.B.I.

A woman who has accused Mr. Epstein of sexually abusing her as a child said on Monday that the prince should speak to the American authorities. “Prince Andrew, and any others who were close to Epstein, should come forward and give a statement under oath on what information they have,” the woman, who calls herself Jane Doe 15, said at a news conference in New York.

Several companies have moved to distance their brands from an organization supported by the prince called Pitch@Palace, which aims to help entrepreneurs. Those companies include Cisco Systems, which makes network equipment; Aon, a British insurer; and KPMG, a consulting firm.

A spokeswoman for Aon said in an email that the company had asked for its logo to be removed from the Pitch@Palace website because it was not a partner of the organization and never had been. The supporters’ page appeared to have been removed from the organization’s website on Tuesday.

British news outlets also reported that the trustees of Outward Bound Trust, a charity that works with young people, would convene this week to discuss removing the prince as a patron.

Prince Andrew, 59, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II, tried to defend his relationship with Mr. Epstein in the interview with the BBC, which aired on Saturday, but his sometimes confusing comments have served only to inflame anger at his behavior and at his links to the convicted pedophile.

During the talk with the journalist Emily Maitlis, the prince denied any relationship with Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has accused Prince Andrew of having sex with her when she was 17, and expressed little remorse for the victims of Mr. Epstein, who killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell in August.

Asked why he had stayed at Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan mansion in 2010 after his host had been released from prison, Prince Andrew said it was “convenient.”

“Do I regret the fact that he has quite obviously conducted himself in a manner unbecoming? Yes,” Prince Andrew said about Mr. Epstein, whom he continued to see after the financier had served time for soliciting a minor for prostitution.

“Unbecoming?” Ms. Maitlis said with obvious incredulity, adding, “He was a sex offender.”

The prince replied, “I’m sorry, I’m being polite, I mean in the sense that he was a sex offender.”

Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represents several women who say they were abused by Mr. Epstein, including Jane Doe 15, said on Monday that speaking to the F.B.I. would be the “right and honorable thing to do” for the prince.

“I don’t see how he could have not known that there were underage girls, minors, because he did visit homes of Mr. Epstein in New York, in Palm Beach, in the Virgin Islands,” Ms. Allred told the British broadcaster ITV. “I happen to know that there were underage girls in all of those locations,” she added.

In the interview, Prince Andrew said he would be “duty-bound” to testify under oath if he were asked and the “legal advice was to do so.”

“Undoubtedly, some very strange and unpleasant activities have been going on,” he said, “I’m afraid to say that I’m not the person who can shed light on it, for a number of reasons.”

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