Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green has been named in Parliament as the prominent businessman accused of sexual harassment after a major newspaper was slapped with a legal injunction to prevent his identity being revealed.
Lord Peter Hain, who used parliamentary privilege to identify him in the House of Lords today, said it was his duty to do so because of the “serious and repeated” nature of the allegations after he was contacted “by someone intimately involved in the case”.
Earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph ran a front page article that levelled allegations towards an unnamed businessman for bullying, racially abusing and sexually harassing staff.
The hidden identity was a result of an intervention from Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, the second most senior judge in England and Wales, which prevented the national broadsheet from revealing details of the non-disclosure agreements.
Although The Telegraph said it spent eight months investigating the allegations, Etherton’s intervention makes it illegal to name the businessman at the centre of what could be the City equivalent to Hollywood’s #MeToo scandal.
It also made it illegal to identify the companies, as well as what he was accused of doing or how much he allegedly paid his alleged victims.
Today, Lord Hain said: “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 parliamentary 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 this story which is clearly in the public interest.”
Green owns the Arcadia Group retail empire, which operates high street retailers Topshop and Topman, Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Evans.
In response to the news, Green issued a statement.
“I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today,” the retail mogul 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.”