Traingate: who else has Richard Branson fallen out with on Twitter?

- Leadership - Aug 24, 2016

Virgin Trains boss Sir Richard Branson wasn’t best pleased when Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, an avid supporter of renationalising UK railways, posted a video from one of his ‘ram-packed’ East Coast trains.

Travelling from London to Newcastle to take on leadership rival Owen Smith at a hustings event, it appeared on CCTV footage that Corbyn walked past empty unreserved seats before filming from the floor at the end one of the carriages.

Branson tweeted: “Mr Corbyn & team walked past empty unreserved seats then filmed claim train was ‘ram-packed’”.

There have been competing explanations of the events, with supporters of the two sides becoming increasingly vocal on social media.

But who else has the Virgin CEO angered or fallen out with on Twitter?

Last year Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle responded to Branson’s call to step up in the battle to save the Arctic by pointing out that he owned an airline, calling him a daft **** in the process.

Many Brexit voters also took to Twitter to respond to Branson’s call for a second referendum. Virgin has been particularly active in advocating a petition which has been signed by several million people, although many responded to his tweet by telling him to accept the democratic process and move on.

In February the four-year spat with International Airlines Group CEO Willie Walsh continued, with Branson tweeting that “While Willie Walsh tries to deride rivals, @virginatlantic will focus on our customers”. The argument began four years ago when Walsh bet Branson ‘a kick in the groin’ that the Virgin Atlantic brand would die within five years.

Branson has also fallen out with a stingray, tweeting in February about an encounter which saw him bitten while exploring off the Cayman Islands. He claimed he was mistaken for food and that the ray, a type of shark, had ‘one heck of a painful bite’. The stingray in question did not have the chance to respond.

Read the August 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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