Richard Branson Responds To Backlash

After the billionaire’s recent trip to the stars, many criticized him for spending money on space instead of more pressing issues like the climate crisis, poverty, or the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard Branson beat out other ultra-rich billionaires in the race to space this week, but many down on Earth weren’t happy that he chose to invest his massive fortune in a trip to the edge of the atmosphere.

The Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire responded to critics in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” on Wednesday, saying he agrees with those who felt he could have allocated his funds in more useful ways. Host Hoda Kotb asked Branson about his thoughts on the backlash from people who’ve said he “went up into space for kind of a joy ride” amid crises requiring more immediate attention like the pandemic, climate change, and poverty.

“I 100% agree that people who are in positions of wealth should spend most of their money, 90% or more of their money, trying to tackle these issues, but we should also create new industries that can create, you know, 800 engineers, and scientists who can create wonderful things that can make space accessible at a fraction of the environmental cost that it’s been in the past,” Branson said.

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