Branson well known for his ‘brashness,’ Christy Clark’s office responds
VANCOUVER—Publicity-seeking billionaire Richard Branson will do or say anything to get attention.
Case in point? After meeting B.C. Premier Christy Clark, he offered to take her on a kitesurfing ride with one caveat: She has to be naked.
In a blog posting, Branson, who was in B.C. earlier this week, has a picture of himself kitesurfing with a skinny, sleek naked woman clinging to his back.
“Want a ride? Check the dress code,” said the title of his post.
He wrote: “When in British Columbia a few days ago, the delightful Premier Christy Clark accepted my invite to come for a kitesurf ride on my back. One thing though — I forgot to tell her about the dress code!”
Branson said he posted the picture to show the premier what he meant and concluded with the line, “The offer still stands Christy!”
Branson — who once boasted about running naked through a post-hurricane fire on his Caribbean island estate to rescue his guest, actress Kate Winslet, and his 90-year-old mother — was in Vancouver earlier in the week to launch his Virgin airline’s Vancouver-to-London flight.
During a publicity stunt in 1996, Branson rappelled down a five-storey building in downtown Vancouver to launch his Virgin Megastore, spraying Champagne on the crowd outside. That store has since closed.
Initially, Clark’s office issued a statement calling Branson’s comments a publicity stunt. Branson “is well known for his brashness and ability to manipulate media coverage for his company,” the statement said.
But to reporters Tuesday, Clark went further.
“I didn’t think it was very respectful,” she said. “Someone said to me as a joke that if that’s his best pickup line, then maybe there’s a reason he called his company Virgin. But you know, I just don’t think it’s very respectful.”
Clark said she sees lots of young women who want to run for politics and the disrespectful comments from Branson could be a deterrent to some.
“I think when you meet with the CEO of a billion-dollar company who wants to do business with your province, you can get a little bit more respectful treatment than that,” she said.