Men-only charity ball sees hostesses groped and sexually abused

Dorchester hotel nw230510 1

Allegations that guests freely manhandled hostesses 

24th January 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An MP has called for an investigation after a men-only charity gala saw hostesses allegedly groped, propositioned and sexually harassed by guests.

Maria Miller, chair of the parliamentary committee on women and equalities, also suggested strengthening the equalities act, after the Financial Times published an undercover investigation into the antics at the annual Presidents Club charity dinner.

Held at London’s exclusive Dorchester hotel and hosted by comedian David Walliams, two undercover journalists joined 360 guests including bankers, entrepreneurs and celebrities at the event which involves an auction to raise money for good causes.

Some of the 130 women employed as hostesses to entertain the all-male guest list were subjected to sexual harassment, claim the journalists.

The women were allegedly groped repeatedly and invited by diners to join them in bedrooms at the hotel, while some reported men putting their hands up their skirts.

The guest list included billionaire Sir Philip Green, Dragons’ Den entrepreneurs Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis and TV presenter Vernon Kay.

Political figures listed among invitees included Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi and Labour peer and party fundraiser Jonathan Mendelsohn, while current and past supporters of the event include Formula 1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone and property developer Nick Candy.

Miller said: “British business need to take a long hard look at itself. How seriously is business taking equality at work if they are still using men only events for entertainment?

“If business leaders are simply paying lip service to equality issues then perhaps it’s time the government gives the Equality Act some real teeth?”

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality party said: “Men from across political, business, and entertainment worlds are implicated in this grotesque circus of sleazy rich men pawing at young women and buying crude ‘lots’ in the name of charity.

“Those who are worried that women’s confrontation of sexual harassment has gone too far and turned into a ‘witch hunt’, look no further.”

The Presidents Club told the FT: “The Presidents Club recently hosted its annual dinner, raising several million pounds for disadvantaged children. The organisers are appalled by the allegations of bad behaviour at the event asserted by the Financial Times reporters. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable. The allegations will be investigated fully and promptly and appropriate action taken.”

The Dorchester hotel said it had a zero-tolerance attitude to harassment and said it would cooperate with the authorities if any complaints were made.