Legendary businessman Sir Richard Branson weighed in on international and national headlines as Metro’s global guest editor at its New York office today. He joined a list of prestigious global guest editors for Metro including Lady Gaga and Karl Lagerfeld.
Branson, joined by Metro deputy editor contest winnerJuan Nicolas Pinzon Guevara of Bogota, Colombia, offered his unique take on the news of the day under the theme of “Risky Business.” In international news, he weighed in on the war on drugs after a story broke overnight of a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot and killed near the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I mean, I think there will still be thousands of people killed unless they change the war on drugs,” said Branson, an outspoken advocate to decriminalize drugs. “The war on drugs is not working — and that’s a very good example of the war on drugs not working. The sooner they change the approach to drugs, the better.”
On the topic of censorship in Russia and Muslim unrest following the controversial film deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammad, Branson defended free speech — but also urged responsibility.
“The idea of people being sent to prison for speaking out about anything is ridiculous,” he said. “If you’re going to make something where you think people may be killed, you better make sure it’s worth it.”
On a story out of New York about a bisexual teen girl being asked to leave school for wearing a T-shirt that said “I enjoy vagina,” Branson recalled the hurdles in naming his own company Virgin, after it was said to be a rude word.
“She should be allowed to do a bit of campaigning. Of course she should stay at school, that’s ridiculous,” Branson said of 15-year-old Brianna Demato of Woodhaven. “When we first came up with the name ‘Virgin,’ we weren’t allowed to register it for five years because they said it was rude. And we ended up having to go to the English dictionary to prove that ‘virgin’ was actually the opposite of rude. I don’t see why. I mean, most women have vaginas, so why shouldn’t they be able to mention it?”
The innovative entrepreneur also offered his modern take on breakups, saying there is no reason why two people can’t remain in touch after ending a romantic relationship.
“I think if you’ve had a relationship with somebody, you should be best friends for life,” Branson said.
Look for more of Branson’s thoughts, including his position on global warming, the voter ID law recently struck down and a sneak peek at several of his projects in tomorrow’s edition of Metro!
Sir Richard Branson, right, is joined by deputy guest editor Juan Nicolas Pinzon Guevara and Metro US Editor-in-Chief Tony Metcalf. (Photos by Miles Dixon/Metro)