Topshop boss Philip Green claims he is being used as “target practice”, in his first interview since allegations against him were made public
Retail mogul Philip Green has denied allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse of his employees, saying that there was “some banter” but that it was “never offensive”.
Speaking for the first time since his name was outed in parliament earlier this week, Green told the Mail on Sunday that the claims against him were “a horror story”.
“I’m very, very, very upset,” he said, speaking from a spa resort in Arizona where he is currently based.
“I’m being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It’s injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it’s injuring me and my family.”
“I’ve been in business for more than 40 years,” he said. “There has obviously from time to time been some banter, but as far as I’m concerned that’s never been offensive.
“I’ve got a good relationship with all my staff. In all that time, until the recent issues, I’ve not had one litigation or complaint.
“If anything I’ve said has caused offence, I’m happy to apologise. Nothing I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive.
“Many people have worked for the family for many years and I’ve never had any problems.”
He said he was the one being harassed, commenting: “It’s a horror story. Somebody can say whatever they like and people just follow you around, chasing you and harassing you.”
Green is accused of trying to silence and pay off his alleged victims with non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
At least five complaints made against him, including allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse, were blocked in this manner, according to an investigation by the Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper was initially unable to name the Topshop boss due to a High Court injunction, a measure that was swept aside on Thursday when Labour peer Lord Hain invoked his parliamentary privilege to out Green as the businessman behind the allegations.
In a statement, Green denied “unlawful sexual or racist behaviour”. This new interview is the first time he’s responded in detail to the furore branded as “Britain’s #MeToo scandal” (with parallels to Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein, who also used NDAs to gag his alleged victims).
“The whole thing is disgusting, this has got nothing to do with any sexual misconduct. It’s nonsense,” Green said. He also hit out at Lord Hain, describing the peer’s decision to publicly name him as “just disgusting”.
Former staff accuse Green of bullying and swearing at his employees, often reducing people to tears. He was said to be sexually and racially abusive, and behaved inappropriately, according to complaints.