“It was a great pleasure performing at the Secret Policeman’s Ball in New York last night to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th birthday,” he wrote. “What the charity has achieved in the past 50 years is incredible and it is vital we all keep supporting its work. This was the first time the event has been held in the US and it was a blast. Both the UK and US comics certainly exercised their freedom of speech during last night’s unprintable sketches!”
“The whole point of the Secret Policeman’s Ball – besides raising lots of money for a great cause – is to have fun and enjoy our freedom of speech,” wrote Branson. "I enjoy freedom of speech every day – through blogging, tweeting, email, picking up the phone and speaking to people. But freedom of speech is under threat in every region in the world. Just because we have access to these great tools does not mean everyone else in the world does – nor that they won’t go unpunished for exercising their freedom.
“Virgin actually broadcasted the 1987 Ball, where Peter Gabriel performed Biko, and released the recorded version. So it was a real pleasure to be involved 25 years on and see the spirit of free speech and humour alive and well. Happy birthday Amnesty International, and we look forward to the next Secret Policeman’s Ball!"