Update (2nd November 2018): Current and former employees of Philip Green have spoken out against assertions this week that his behaviour had been good-humoured "banter". Speaking to the Guardian, several anonymous staff members described the workplace culture under Green as tense, unpredictable and verbally abusive.
“‘Banter’ suggests some kind of exchange, or jocular language, but it isn’t,” said one. “It’s one-way, it’s intense, you have to keep your mouth shut.” The current and former employees gave examples of behaviour they'd witnessed, including Green grabbing female staff members' bottoms and using homophobic language to describe a marketing display involving male models, which he proceeded to tear down.
This story was originally published on 25th October:
Sir Philip Green has today been named as the businessman at the heart of the UK's #MeToo scandal. The rumour mill had been in overdrive since Tuesday, when it was revealed that "a leading businessman" had been granted an injunction preventing the publication of reports accusing him of sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying against staff.
But now the secret's out thanks to Labour peer Peter Hain, who used parliamentary privilege to name the retail billionaire and owner of Topshop, after he was personally contacted by someone involved in the scandal.
"My Lords, having been contacted by someone intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying, which is compulsively continuing, I feel it’s my duty under privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question, given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of a story, which is clearly in the public interest," Lord Hain told Parliament on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Daily Telegraph reported that it had been prevented by a legal injunction from publishing an investigation into allegations of sexual and racial abuse against staff. The investigation had taken eight months and included interviews with five staff members, who claimed they had received "substantial sums" of money in return for legal commitments not to discuss what had happened.
The legal injunction has not been lifted, but Lord Hain's statement is now being reported by media worldwide.
This is not the first time Green has been accused or reprimanded for wrongdoing. Just this month, the hashtag #PinkNotGreen picked up steam after a feminist pop-up in Topshop's flagship Oxford Circus store, in collaboration with publisher Penguin, was taken down just 20 minutes after it was erected. Many believed Green was personally involved, but the company said the decision was taken from "a production and creative standpoint".
He was also dubbed the "unacceptable face of capitalism" after BHS, which he owned before selling it for £1 in 2015, went into administration with a £571m gap in its pension fund.
The naming of Green as the mystery businessman came as no surprise to a huge swathe of social media users. Some, including Scarlett Curtis, who was behind the recent feminist pop-up, claimed to have been at the receiving end of his behaviour.
This man clothed our country.— Scarlett Curtis (@scarcurtis) October 25, 2018
This man dressed our teenage girls.
This man is a racist, sexist bully.
This man made me cry.
This man must be stopped. Philip Green, money can’t save you.
The feminists are coming & they’re wearing pink #pinknotgreen https://t.co/x9SYI6YhU9
Ahhh happy memories of Philip Green. Thinking back on the time he threw me out of a Topshop event because, quoth he, "she's an anti-Semite, she works for the fucking Guardian!"— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) October 25, 2018
Many are now calling for Green to be stripped of his knighthood, which he received in 2006 and has managed to hold on to even after it was reviewed in 2016 by the Cabinet Office following the BHS collapse. A 38 Degrees petition that was started over two years ago is rapidly gaining new supporters and has garnered more than 148k signatures at the time of writing.
Surprise surprise it was Phillip Green who tried to censor the media from publishing his sexual misconduct and racial abuse. He's needed to be stripped of that knighthood for awhile now, what a disgusting pig 😷— Jessica (@itsmsjessy) October 25, 2018