Friday’s Brexit decision, where more than 17 million people in the United Kingdom voted that the country leave the European Union after an alliance that has lasted more than 40 years, took the world by surprise.
Until the polls closed on Thursday night, odds seemed to favor the world’s fifth-largest economy remaining in the 28-country bloc. Instead, those who sided with the “leave” vote prevailed, which unleashed a worldwide panic.
Market indices across the globe plunged, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 3.4% and the S&P 500 off 3.6% by the end of the day. In response to the market volatility, investors flocked to the safety of the dollar and U.S. bonds, sending the pound to its lowest level in 31 years. And before the day was over, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would step down, casting the leadership of the country in doubt.
While world leaders try to sort out what the ultimate political and economic impact will be from Brexit, famous entrepreneurs and business leaders, from England’s own Richard Branson to Mark Cuban, took to Twitter to voice their opinions and their concerns.
Most were troubled by the electorate’s decision to leave, and expressed objection to the anti-immigrant xenophobia that characterized so much of the Leave campaign. Yet others feared Brexit would put a severe crimp in the formation of new companies in Europe, and would generally weigh on the global economy.
Here’s a sampling of what they had to say.
1. Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape and venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, worried about the impact of Brexit on new businesses.
2. Fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham had this simple declamation:
3. World-renowned entrepreneur and Virgin founder Richard Branson wondered whether people were misinformed, and posited a second vote might be necessary:
4. AOL founder Steve Case took issue with the anti-immigration sentiment of the Leave campaigners:
5. Mark Cuban, similarly voiced his concern about the xenophobic message of those who voted for Brexit, through a retweet:
6. Magazine publisher Steve Forbes said the Brexit vote would have negative consequences for Western Europe and beyond:
7.PayPal co-founder and Affirm chief executive Max Levchin suggested a second vote would likely wind up with a similar result:
8. Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social news networking company Reddit, agreed with Andreessen that Brexit could make things difficult for early-stage companies:
9. Philanthropist investor Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, suggested ill-informed voters didn’t understand the consequences of their vote:
10. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books and co-creator of its various franchises, sent up a protest flag:
11. Multi-billionaire investor George Soros, one of the wealthiest people in the world, worried that Brexit was the just the beginning of worse tidings for the E.U.: