Philip Green, Topshop boss, named in UK harassment claims

Philip Green, the billionaire chairman of Arcadia group, the retail empire that includes Topshop, has been n...

Posted: Oct 25, 2018 11:54 PM
Updated: Oct 25, 2018 11:54 PM

Philip Green, the billionaire chairman of Arcadia group, the retail empire that includes Topshop, has been named in the UK parliament as the subject of abuse claims.

A member of the House of Lords, Peter Hain, named the businessman after the Daily Telegraph newspaper was prevented from doing so by a court order obtained by Green.

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Hain was able to name the businessman because members of the UK parliament are protected from defamation claims. He said it was his "duty" to reveal Green's name because the allegations related to "serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing." He had been contacted by someone "intimately involved" in the case, he said.

CNN has not been able to independently verify the allegations in the Telegraph.

Green issued a statement on Thursday denying the claims. "I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today," he said.

"To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.

"Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.

"Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees. In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them."

Accusations made in newspaper

The accusations against Green first surfaced in the Telegraph on Tuesday evening, which revealed in a front page story that a judge had issued an interim injunction on the paper, preventing it from publishing the name of the businessman.

The Telegraph alleged that the businessman used non-disclosure agreements to "silence and pay off his alleged victims with 'substantial sums'" and that the court ruling that prevented the paper from naming him "is expected to renew controversy about the use of injunctions to limit British press freedom."

Labour MP Jess Phillips asked Prime Minister Theresa May about the use of NDAs during Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, without naming Green.

May responded that while she could not comment on the specific case, she did note that "sexual harassment in the work place is against the law, such abhorrent behavior should not be tolerated and an employer that allows that harassment of women to go undealt with is sending a message about how welcome they are and about their value in the work place."

"Non-disclosure agreements cannot stop people from whistleblowing but it is clear that some employers are using them unethically," she added.

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