Topshop Las Vegas’ former store manager Auna Irvine has become the first woman to publicly accuse Sir Philip Green of sexual harassment.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Irvine alleged that the billionaire Topshop owner repeatedly slapped her bottom, made comments about her breasts and told her she needed to lose weight.
“Anytime he would see me he would walk up to me and grab my waist and slap my butt,” she told the newspaper.
“After he would slap my butt, he would pinch the side of my waist and suggest I lose weight but not to lose my ass. He’d call it my bum.”
Irvine went on to lay out what she refers to as Green’s growing obsession with her, in which he would call her up to eight times a day and “scream” at her if she missed his call.
Green’s law firm Schillings has responded to Irvine’s allegations, stating that she is an unreliable witness and was sacked for giving away clothing to her boyfriend by putting it through the till as damaged.
In relation to the prior allegations, Green said he “categorically and wholly” denies any allegations of unlawful sexual or racial behaviour.
Aside from becoming the first to publicly corroborate allegations of widespread sexual misconduct, Irvene’s interview has drawn attention to the use of gagging orders to prevent many details from surfacing.
Green successfully secured an injunction which legally prevented him being identified in a front-page story in The Daily Telegraph, which laid bare accusations of bullying, racial abuse and sexual harassment directed at an unnamed businessman.
Days later, Lord Peter Hain used parliamentary privilege to identify Green as the accused unnamed businessman in the House of Lords, saying it was his duty to do so because of the “serious and repeated” nature of the allegations.
The injunction still prevents the publication of any allegations of sexual or racial abuse made by former British employees, but employees in the US are not gagged by the UK courts.
Numerous MPs have called for the court to pull the injunction, stating it was well within the public interest for the allegations to be published.
“It seems to be unfair and a broken process and I am surprised that the courts haven’t lifted this injunction,” Tory MP Maria Miller said.
“It feels like there is a mockery being made of the law by having an injunction in place when that has been exposed and it really doesn’t have much validity now.”