Topshop’s former brand director Jane Shepherdson has said she quit the retailer in 2006 because she “couldn’t bear the thought” of working with Sir Philip Green any longer.
Following Lord Peter Hain’s naming of Green as the businessman at the heart of what is being called the City’s #MeToo scandal, Shepherdson spoke candidly about her experience working with the billionaire.
Addressing an audience at The Telegraph’s inaugural Women Mean Business Live event, Shepherdson said “everyone knows (Green) was a bully”.
She added that she spent her years at Topshop protecting her team from him.
“He did bully people but he didn’t bully me,” she said.
“He tried to – he would get very angry and shout a lot, and I would then get very angry and shout a lot.
“I wasn’t properly angry, I just knew the way to talk to a bully was to pretend to get very angry, to shout at them and then every time I did that he would back down.
“It was really exhausting doing it. It takes its toll on you. You have to constantly be making yourself aggressive.”
Last week, The 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.
Days later, Hain used parliamentary privilege to identify him in the House of Lords, stating 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”.
Green allegedly used similar gagging orders on former staff, preventing them from speaking out about the allegations.
In response to the allegations, Green 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.”