LONDON (Reuters) – Hostesses employed to entertain figures from business and politics at a secretive men-only charity fundraising gala in London have been groped, propositioned and sexually harassed, the Financial Times newspaper mentioned on Wednesday.
The detailed report of the Presidents Club’s gala night comes at a time of intense public debate about problems with sexual harassment within the office and pay discrimination towards ladies.
The newspaper, which despatched two folks undercover to work on the event, mentioned hostesses have been informed to put on skimpy black attire with matching underwear earlier than being paraded in entrance of braying males.
“Welcome to the most un-PC event of the year,” introduced the host initially of a charity public sale to lift funds for good causes, in keeping with the article by undercover reporter Madison Marriage.
The Presidents Club Charitable Trust says on its web site it was based greater than three a long time in the past to lift cash for underprivileged kids. The belief couldn’t instantly be reached for remark as the web site contained no contact particulars.
Lots put up for public sale included an evening at a strip membership and a course of cosmetic surgery, with the invitation “Add spice to your wife”.
The Financial Times mentioned the belief had two joint chairmen, London property developer Bruce Ritchie and luxurious items businessman David Meller. It mentioned neither had offered a remark for publication.
The gala, held within the ballroom on the Dorchester Hotel on prestigious Park Lane, was attended by 360 males from British business, politics and finance, and the leisure was offered by 130 hostesses employed for the event.
The Financial Times mentioned hostesses had reported males placing fingers up their skirts. One mentioned a visitor had uncovered his penis to her.
The newspaper reported that at an after-party, held in a smaller room off the primary foyer of the Dorchester, a person described as a distinguished society determine had grabbed a hostess by the waist and pulled her in towards his abdomen.
“You look far too sober,” the person was reported as saying. “I want you to down that glass, rip off your knickers (underwear) and dance on that table.”
The FT report sparked a swift backlash towards the event.
Martin Sorrell, chief government of promoting group WPP, informed BBC radio the company would now not help the charity. Sorrell mentioned he had attended the charity’s gala event a few years in the past and had not seen something like what was described within the report.
“If true, it’s highly regrettable,” he mentioned.
Maria Miller, a lawmaker who chairs parliament’s committee on ladies and equalities, tweeted that she hoped each man who attended the event would assume twice earlier than accepting one other invitation to a men-only event with feminine hostesses.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Alistair Smout; enhancing by Guy Faulconbridge and Ralph Boulton