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A Prince, a Paedophile and Some Fruit

Updated: Aug 29, 2019


The Prince and the Perve

Prince Andrew, the Queen’s 59-year-old second-born son, is among the prominent figures to be engulfed in the upheaval following Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a Manhattan jail.

  • Footage has emerged showing the Duke of York visiting Epstein's New York townhouse two years after the businessman pleaded guilty to two sexual offences. The footage was reportedly shot in December 2010, after Epstein pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors to halt a federal sex abuse investigation involving more than 30 teenage girls.

  • In an apparent show of unity, the Queen has been seen publically with Prince Andrew. This has occurred following the release of hundreds of pages of documents from a 2015 lawsuit. In the documents, an alleged victim claims Andrew touched her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein's Manhattan apartment in 2001.

  • The 66-year-old Epstein was arrested in July on new charges of trafficking minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. Epstein died in custody on August 10 in what the New York City medical examiner has described as a suicide.

  • The Buckingham Palace PR machine has been regularly releasing statements in defence of Andrew, stating that any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue. Andrew admits it was an error to meet Epstein in 2010 after the billionaire was released from prison after pleading guilty to charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.

  • The prince also admits spending a ‘limited’ time with the former teacher turned Wall Street mogul and convicted sex predator. However, the deposition of Epstein’s private jet names the prince as a passenger in eight flights between 2001 and 2002.

  • Prince Andrew and ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, have reportedly taken refuge from the scrutiny in a luxurious Spanish resort as pressure builds over the issue. Yet the media vultures have begun to circle with one UK tabloid publishing comments of one of the prince’s ‘oldest friends’ that 'he was known as Randy Andy for a reason.’

  • Not even a slew of baby photos, or news of Prince William and Kate stooping to use a discount airline, can distract the media attention. Interestingly, Prince Andrew and Buckingham Palace have had years to consider and plan for the media backlash from this link between royalty and a convicted sex offender – yet the royal response has appeared reactive and ad-hoc. Have the royal PR professionals done an accurate analysis of stakeholder reaction to the mud that is being slung, or have they been caught unprepared for the media storm?


Nailed and Screwed

More trouble for our strawberry industry

Just as farmers are bouncing back from the ‘sewing needle’ contamination scandal that resulted in the dumping thousands of tonnes of strawberries, a South Australian woman has found a nail in a punnet of strawberries. Now, less than a week later, a Sydney shopper shared a photo of a screw in a recently purchased strawberry.

  • The question must be asked – is the $560 million industry prepared for another crisis and what has been done to protect the 260 strawberry growers across the country?

  • Following the 2018 crisis, the government reviewed laws around product tampering and increased punishments up to 15 years prison. The industry also received a $1 million relief package, including $350,000 to invest in tamper-proof containers, marketing and training.

  • One key finding of the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Strawberry report into the incident found that the industry did not have the capacity to respond in crises nor was there a national industry body to respond to such incidents. The result was that an individual was responsible for communications and was inundated with calls, particularly from the media, with no capacity to deal with them.

  • While Growcom, the peak representative body for Queensland horticulture, did step in to assist coordinate communications and a crisis communication expert was engaged. It was clear the industry was ill-prepared for such a crisis.

  • This was not the first crisis affecting the industry. Just 12 months previously they had been dealing with a fruit fly larvae contamination incident that threatened the industry.

  • Internationally, the US strawberry industry has been dealing with its own potentially existential threats. They continue to face high up-front costs, labour shortages, increased pesticide regulation, the high cost of coastal acreage, and the impacts of climate change. However, the immediate crisis comes from the industry's early embrace of chemical-intensive fumigants to control soil-borne pathogens that cause strawberry plants to wilt and die.

  • With the recent emergence of more product tampering instances and the growing concerns from the US market, is the Australian strawberry industry now prepared for the realisation of key risks?

  • Peak bodies are looked at to understand the risks that effect their industry and, in times of crisis, to protect their members, communicate with stakeholders and coordinate all activities to protect their industry. Yet bafflingly, Strawberries Australia Inc, that claims to be the national peak industry body has nothing but a message ‘all media releases have been removed’ under their news and media website link.


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