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Buckingham Palace Pressured ABC to Kill Story on Andrew & Epstein

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I don't have a lot of thoughts about Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein simply because I have never followed the minutia of the story.  I have certainly seen the headlines over the years--we've known about Epstein's depravity and it is impossible not to view askance anyone who maintained an active/close friendship with him.  Given that Andrew's friendship appeared to be more than a purely social one--he not only knew him, but he traveled to Epstein's Island, visited Epstein in New York, hosted Epstein at Sandringham, and maintained a pretty close friendship with Epstein's girlfriend (about whom there are now questions), it is impossible not to make some uncomfortable conclusions. 

So, it isn't a case have followed closely and I just don't have a lot of thoughts about his behavior specifically, other than that I obviously think he was up to things he oughtn't to have been.  Whether he engaged in a activity at the fringe or was deeply involved, I don't think anyone knows...yet.  More interesting to me is how the Palace works behind the scenes to control the media narrative about its principal royals, and we have some interesting news on that score today.

Someone today brought this clip to my attention last night.  It is ABC news anchor Amy Robach having a "hot mic" moment and claiming that one of Epstein's victims (Virginia Roberts) had brought her story to Robach several years ago.  Robach said she was ready to run the story, but ABC news killed it after ABC was pressured by people connected to Epstein. Robach says that when Buckingham Palace heard about the story, it "threatened us in a million different ways."  (To give context, Virginia Roberts claims that Prince Andrew slept with her when she was only 17).  Robach even said that ABC was afraid they would't be able to interview William and Kate if the story aired!

We have talked a little in the past about the Palace bringing legal pressure against outlets to block the publication of various stories.  The unsubstantiated allegation that William cheated on Kate never ran in a major U.K. paper because the journalists had no proof, and Palace attorneys made very clear that if the story was published without proof there would be a lawsuit.  So, that situation is different from this Andrew/Epstein one, which does have meat on its bones.  But, even when the Palace doesn't come from a position of strength, it can still bring other types of pressure to bear.  Obviously William and Kate are unlikely to do a sit-down with ABC anytime soon (although, you never know), but the Palace can restrict access to networks for big royal events as well as for tours and the day-to-day engagements.  It can leverage its bigger players (like William and Kate) to protect its smaller players (like Andrew).  It sounds like that is what it did here. 

I am not surprised at all that the Palace is fighting this story tooth and nail.  Every royal reflects upon the monarch.  Every royal--by virtue of his or her title and position--can either strengthen or weaken the monarchy's position in the eye of the public.  When an individual royal has a good news day, the monarchy basks in that glow, when a royal has a scandal, the monarchy's reputation takes a hit.  So, the royals are in a strange sink-or-swim-together alliance, and every negative story has the potential to hurt them all. Killing this news story is, therefore, both to protect Andrew individually, but also to shield the monarchy from the blow-back of such a nasty scandal.

I think this news is interesting, although I am not sure it is groundbreaking.  Epstein was connected to many powerful people who were most certainly bringing pressure to kill the story, too. But it is interesting to think about the way the royals manage (or attempt to manage) it all.  I don't know that the Epstein story will ever be fully examined.  Time will tell.

A personal update: I am with my mom at the hospital this week as she begins an aggressive chemo regimen.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  She weathered the first day of infusions really well (much better than anticipated)  and she said to me, "well, I have so many people praying for me."  I know lots of you are numbered in that "many," and am deeply grateful for your prayer. We really do feel strengthened by it.