It feels like an almost daily occurrence: another day, another headline concerning a famous man accused of sexual misconduct, harassment or abuse. The latest name to reach the ever-growing list is retail tycoon Philip Green. The 66-year-old chairman of the Arcadia Group – home to Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, among others – faces allegations of sexual harassment.
But what’s the full story, so far? Here’s what you need to know.
Green tried to silence the newspaper breaking the story
On 24 October, The Telegraph reported that there was a “British #MeToo scandal” involving a leading British businessman, who faced allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse. However, the man – who we now know to be Green – was granted an injunction, preventing the paper from revealing his identity. Now both the victims (through non-disclosure agreements) and the press were being silenced.
But the injunction was overridden in parliament
Thankfully, the day after The Telegraph’s article was published, Peter Hain stood in the House of Lords and named the businessman as Green. Hain was able to get around the injunction against The Telegraph due to parliamentary privilege. Essentially, every MP and peer has the right, under parliamentary privilege, to say whatever they like during parliamentary proceedings without the risk of being sued for defamation.
A woman has now publicly accused Green of sexual harassment
Two weeks later, the first woman to publicly accuse Green of sexual harassment came forward earlier this week. Auna Irvine was the manager of one of the flagship US stores, who alleges that he bullied her for over a year and that she needed counselling because of his behaviour. She claimed that he repeatedly grabbed her waist and bum, made inappropriate comments about her breasts and frequently told her she needed to lose weight.
She hired a solicitor in 2013, but after Arcadia’s London HR department dismissed her claim, she was sacked for “breaking company rules”. Irvine claims she gifted a suit to a promoter, as was commonplace and even encouraged by her superiors.
And she’s not his only accuser
Another woman has spoken to the BBC about the harassment and verbal abuse she was subjected to during her time working at the Arcadia Group. The former senior staff member said that he verbally harassed people in a constant attack: "It was the f-word all the time, just tripping out of him, rolling off his tongue. I found it really aggressive."
Other former employees dubbed him a bully, saying he threw things at staff if he thought they were underperforming. "He picked up a pair of boots, shouting and swearing at her and threw them at her. Luckily she ducked," one said. "Swearing, he said he was paying her wages so 'I can treat her how I want.'"
At least three other employees have come forward with sexual-harassment allegations against Green.
These allegations, spanning from London to Las Vegas, appear similar to Weinstein, showing that this harassment was widespread and traumatising. But one thing we can take away is that, perhaps, the #MeToo movement inspired these alleged victims to feel like, finally, they can come forward.
Hopefully, these allegations will be taken seriously. Check back for updates – we’ll keep adding names as this story continues to expand and evolve.
*UPDATE* BEYONCÉ SEVERS TIES WITH GREEN
Beyoncé bought back Green's share in their clothing venture, it was revealed on 14 November. The singer launched the Ivy Park fashion sportswear brand with Topshop, back in 2016. Her Parkwood company purchased Green's shares for an undisclosed sum. A spokesperson for the company said: "After discussions of almost a year, Parkwood has acquired 100% of the Ivy Park brand. Topshop/Arcadia will fulfill the existing orders."