Hot felon’s billionaire ‘father-in-law’ Sir Philip Green is named in MeToo scandal: Topshop boss is outed in UK Parliament for gagging press from publishing sexual harassment and racial abuse claims – which he denies
Sir Philip Green, 66, was outed for gagging reporters over workplace misconduct claims
British fashion mogul Sir Philip Green’s reputation lies in tatters after he was named as the businessman at the center of sexual harassment and racist abuse claims.
The 66-year-old billionaire, whose daughter has a son with American ‘hot felon’ Jeremy Meeks, was unmasked in Parliament on Thursday as the mystery man at the center of the growing scandal.
Sir Philip, chairman of the Topshop fashion empire, had used controversial gagging orders on former staff to secure a court injunction banning a newspaper from reporting their bullying allegations, which he strongly denies.
But the court gag order was blown apart when former government minister Lord Peter Hain used parliamentary privilege rules to name Sir Philip in defiance of the legal restrictions.
Green (center left) with his wife Tina, daughter Chloe (far right) and her boyfriend, the model and convicted felon Jeremy Meeks, on a family trip in the Mediterranean
Chloe Green in May gave birth to a son with Meeks, an American former Crips gang member turned fasion model who is banned from entering Britain. They are seen earlier this month
Former minister Lord Peter Hain (above) named the fashion mogul in the House of Lords
Though Britain lacks the rigorous free speech protections of America, and allows courts to muzzle journalists on certain legal proceedings, the country’s parliamentary rules grant legal immunity to members of Parliament while speaking in the course of proceedings.
Full statement of Philip Green denying claims
Sir Philip issued the following statement to the Telegraph:
‘I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today. 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.
‘Arcadia and I take accusations and grievances from employees very seriously and in the event that one is raised, it is thoroughly investigated.
‘Arcadia employs more than 20,000 people and in common with many large businesses sometimes receives formal complaints from employees.
‘In some cases these are settled with the agreement of all parties and their legal advisers. These settlements are confidential so I cannot comment further on them.’
In a bombshell statement in the House of Lords, Labour party peer Lord Hain said it was ‘clearly in the public interest’ that the allegations were aired.
He said the case involved ‘substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing’.
The allegations of ‘racist abuse’ are especially shocking in light of the relationship between Sir Philip’s daughter Chloe Green and Meeks, a biracial fashion model and convicted felon who is barred from entering Britain.
Chloe Green gave birth to the couple’s first child, a boy, in May.
After Lord Hain’s bombshell speech in Parliament, Sir Philip issued a statement strongly denying the misconduct allegations.
‘I am not commenting on anything that has happened in court or was said in Parliament today,’ he 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.’
The statement added that like all large companies, his operations ‘sometimes receives formal complaints from employees’ and settles them confidentially.
The revelation in Parliament leaves the Topshop, Burtons and Dorothy Perkins boss, who spent decades amassing a huge fortune, fighting for his reputation and battling to keep hold of his knighthood.
Green (left) is pictured with disgraced Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein in 2009. There is no suggestion Sir Philip is linked to any of the allegations made about Weinstein
Sir Philip has spent years feting the world’s top models and celebrities at lavish parties. He is pictured with Kate Moss in 2007 and Beyonce in 2014
People across Britain and beyond have since threatened to boycott his Arcadia Group empire with the hashtag #PinkNotGreen.
It comes after appeal court judges sparked anger with a controversial order blocking the Daily Telegraph from publishing details of allegations made by former employees.
It is said five of Sir Philip’s former staff members signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in which they agreed to remain silent over their claims.
The newspaper said it learned of the secret deals while investigating separate claims of bullying and intimidation.
The three appeal judges ruled the information was likely to be in breach of the NDAs and imposed an injunction preventing publication of the allegations until a full High Court hearing could be heard.
However, laws on free speech in Parliament mean politicians cannot face legal action for speaking in the House of Commons or Lords, and everything said there can be published.
Although he has not been found to have committed any wrongdoing, the revelation that Sir Philip is the man at the center of the injunction case will revive previous calls for the billionaire to be stripped of his knighthood.
Lib Dem leader Vince Cable told MailOnline: ‘He narrowly and luckily escaped losing his knighthood over the pensions scandal. If these allegations are correct, he should certainly be stripped of his knighthood.’
He said the naming of Sir Philip in Parliament showed ‘democracy at work’.
Sir Philip Green, pictured in Mayfair earlier this month (left) and (right) with his wife Tina
Sir Philip lives a glamorous lifestyle, mixing with the country’s top models. There is no suggestion anyone pictured is involved in any of the allegations against him
The naming of Sir Philip in Parliament also sparked a backlash against the controversial legal cases by which the rich can gag newspapers and the media.
Maria Miller, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, told MailOnline: ‘Given the huge influence Philip Green wields in the world of business it is surprising the Court of Appeal decided it wasn’t in the public interest to make public the string of payments that have been made.’
Speaking about NDAs generally, she added: ‘It’s unacceptable that the current system allows the use of NDAs to cover up serial offenders and that cannot be allowed to continue.’
The full statement by Labour peer Lord Hain
Lord Peter Hain told the House of Lords today: ‘Having been contacted by somebody intimately involved in the case of a powerful businessman using non-disclosure agreements and substantial payments to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying which is compulsively continuing, I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question, given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of a story which is clearly in the public interest.’
The statement was made in the chamber and broadcast online through Westminster’s parliamentlive.tv.
Tweeting after Lord Hain’s statement, Conservative Deputy Chairman James Cleverly said: ‘As Lord Hain names Sir Philip Green in the House of Lords today, people must now realise that injunctions and super-injunctions are nothing more than a good way to part with large sums of money and a bad way to keep things secret.’
Sir Philip is well-known throughout Britain as the boss of Arcadia, the parent company of huge brand names such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.
The wheeler-dealer made his name when buying and carving up the Sears empire in the late 1990s.
In 2004, he made a failed £9billion bid to buy iconic high street chain Marks and Spencer.
He was then thrust into the public eye in 2016 after famous brand British Home Stores collapsed a year after he sold it for just £1.
The company had a £571 million pension hole when it went under, with 19,000 former workers facing severe pension shortfalls
Amid public outcry over the situation, Sir Philip agreed to pay £363million into the pension fund.
He has also been criticised for the pay and conditions of both overseas and UK workers in the production lines of clothes sold in his shops.
Sir Philip and billionaire wife Lady Tina, pictured on board their previous yacht on the French Riviera in 2014, are well known for enjoying the high life
Sir Philip’s huge superyacht was seen in Italy today, where it is undergoing repair work
Fresh calls for Sir Philip Green to be stripped of his knighthood
Sir Philip Green was hit with fresh calls to be stripped of his knighthood after he was named in Parliament as the wealthy businessman who gagged the press over sex harassment claims.
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable said the Topshop mogul only narrowly escaped losing his honour after being caught up in the BHS pensions scandal two years ago.
And he said that if the allegations that Sir Philip sexually harassed and bullied staff are true then he must finally be stripped of the gong.
Sir Vince told MailOnline: ‘He narrowly and luckily escaped losing his knighthood over the pensions scandal.
‘If these allegations are correct, he should certainly be stripped of his knighthood.’
Sir Philip has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing in a court or tribunal.
Sir Philip can only be stripped of the gong by the Honours Forfeiture Committee.
It is a secretive Whitehall panel that meets to consider whether people should be stripped of their honour.
In the past it has cancelled honours of convicted criminals like Rolf Harris and more controversially people who, whilst they have not been convicted of any crime, have been harshly criticised like ex-RBS boss Fred Goodwin.
The Committee, which normally conducts its business by correspondence, considers cases where an individual who has been honoured is judged to have brought the honours system into disrepute.
It usually looks at people who have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of three months or more, or have been censured or struck off by the relevant professional or other regulatory authority.
A High Court judge originally refused to gag the Telegraph over the non-disclosure agreement case, but that decision was overturned on appeal.
Appeal judges Sir Terence Etherton, Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Henderson caused anger when they imposed an interim injunction this week.
They said that, in all five cases, complaints had been ‘compromised by settlement agreements’ under which ‘substantial payments’ were made to the employees who had complained.
They said there was a ‘real prospect’ that publication of the details would cause substantial and possible irreversible harm to Sir Philip Green and his companies.
Yesterday, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to hasten measures to improve regulation around so-called gagging clauses in response to questions about the case.
The Prime Minister said some employers were using non-disclosure agreements ‘unethically’ as she criticised ‘abhorrent’ sexual harassment in the workplace.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, Labour MP Jess Phillips asked Mrs May to comment on the use of NDAs to ‘silence’ accusers, adding: ‘It seems that our laws allow rich and powerful men to pretty much do whatever they want as long as they can pay to keep it quiet.’
Asked about the case after Sir Philip was named in the Lords, Theresa May’s official spokesman said today: ‘I don’t think there is any comment on that I can give on that.
‘The PM was asked in the House yesterday and said she couldn’t comment on the specific case but she set out in general the action the government is taking in relation to non-disclosure agreements.’
Asked if the PM has any position on peers who use parliamentary privilege to name suspects, he said: ‘The rules on parliamentary privilege are a matter for Parliament, and how they exercise these rules is obviously a matter for individual members.’
Billionaire Sir Philip Green has become one of Britain’s most wealthy businessmen who enjoys lavish parties and the high life – but has endured some controversies along the way.
He is worth around £4billion as the boss of Arcadia, making his fortune by selling clothes to women through huge brand names including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.
Sir Philip was born in north London on March 15 1952 and was educated at Carmel College in Oxford, while inheriting the family business at the age of twelve after his father died.
He left school at 15 to begin his ascent in the business world, making his way through clothing companies before eventually buying Arcadia and its raft of brands in 2002 with wife Lady Tina through her company Taveta Investments.
Sir Philip, pictured with Kate Moss, previously had trouble when in charge of discount retailer Amber Day in the early 1990s, which he resigned as chairman of after poor financial results
Sir Philip has amassed a £2billion fortune with his wife, Lady Tina (pictured together with their daughter Chloe in 2017)
The wealth has allowed him to enjoy the high life and purchase a £115million yacht, while spending downtime at lavish star-studded parties with celebrity friends such as Kate Moss, or holidaying in the Mediterranean.
But the naming of the businessman in Parliament as the mogul involved in the #MeToo scandal is not the first time he has been accused of harassment and bullying women.
Earlier this year a book claimed the retail king, 66, had ‘reduced women to tears’ during his time running British Home Stores and previous businesses including discount firm Amber Day.
He allegedly told Leslie Warman, a director at Amber Day: ‘If you don’t shut your f****** mouth, I’ll get my friends from south of the river to come for you and your family.’
The billionaire is also alleged to have commented on the weight of a woman working as a buyer at the chain.
According to the book, Damaged Goods, by Oliver Shah, which was previewed in the Sunday Times, he told her: ‘You’re absolutely f****** useless. I should throw you out of the window but you’re so fat you’d probably bounce back in again.’
He is well known for mingling with celebrities and is pictured here left with Frozen star Kristen Bell and right with Rita Ora
Green made millions of pounds cashing on a boom in retail in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s. He is pictured with Kendall Jenner, Cara Delevingne and Rita Ora in 2014.There is no suggestion anyone pictured is involved in any of the allegations against him
The former head of menswear at BHS, Brain Hill, said staff – ‘particularly’ young women – reduced to tears.
He added: ‘Philip would often have a meeting before he flew off in his jet to Monaco and he would just pick one person and batter them. The horrible thing is sometimes you would sit there and think, ‘Thank God it’s not me’.’
Burton’s brand director, Wesley Taylor, also claimed he was racially abused by Green, which Green denied.
But the two settled the dispute out of court.
Responding to the claims, which he denied, Sir Philip described the alleged Warman incident is ‘b*******’ and rejected the claim he made racist remarks to Taylor.
He added: ‘If you employ 40,000 to 50,000 people you have arguments from time to time. That’s how it goes.’
After leaving boarding school at 15, Sir Philip worked for a shoe importer before travelling to the US, Europe and the Far East.
Sir Philip was hauled before the work and pensions committee, pictured, in 2016 and engaged in a war of words with chairman Frank Field, whom he accused of ‘bias’
Sir Philip made his money in the rag trade in 1970s, taking a £20,000 loan from his family’s bank manager when he was 21 to help him buy and sell clothing.
One of his first major deals was buying Bonanza Jeans and Jean Jeannie before selling them to Lee Cooper in 1986 for £3m.
He then encountered controversy when he was forced out of discount retailer Amber Day in 1992, where he was chairman and chief executive, after a collapse in shares and profits. He later suffered a heart attack.
The businessman, pictured with his daughter at a party in 2015, became well-known in the UK as he built up his retail empire
Another coup was to snap up Sears retailing business for £548m. Past purchases include Owen Owen, Olympus Sportswear and Shoe Express.
He was embroiled in controversy in the late 1990s when he tried to put together a takeover of struggling Marks & Spencer. It emerged his wife had shares in the company and this was used as ammunition against his bid.
But his ownership of British Home Stores was his most controversial business move.
He took over the business for £200m in 2000 but after poor financial results he eventually offloaded it for just £1 to Dominic Chappell in 2014. It collapsed less than a year later leaving a £571 million pension hole.
It left 19,000 former workers facing severe pension shortfalls and triggered a public outcry over his handling of the business.
MPs called for Sir Philip to lose his knighthood, but he agreed to pay £363million into the pension fund.
Sir Philip was also hauled before the work and pensions committee under scrutiny from MPs, and was engaged in a war of words with committee chairman Frank Field, whom he said should resign over ‘bias’.
The billionaire told MPs he ‘did everything he could’ to ensure the success of the business and that he thought it went to a ‘good buyer’.
Chappell, who had no retail experience, was charged over the collapse of the pension scheme with three counts of neglecting or refusing to provide documents contrary to the Pensions Act 2004.
Sir Philip is also well known for enjoying holidays aboard his £115million yacht Lionheart, pictured, which is often spotted in the Mediterranean
After a trial in January this year Chappell was found guilty and ordered to pay more than £87,000, including a £50,000 fine.
Sir Philip has avoided the limelight more recently – unlike his daughter Chloe, 26, who has dated Jeremy Meeks, a US criminal banned from entering Britain known as the ‘Hot Felon’.
Who is the former Labour minister Peter Hain who named Philip Green in the Lords?
Peter Hain, the politician who named Sir Philip Green in the Lords today, is a veteran Labour minister who has served on the political front lines for almost 30 years.
Born in Kenya, Hain first rose to prominence as a leading anti-Apartheid campaigner disrupting rugby and cricket tours by all-white South African teams.
Hain, 68, entered Parliament in 1991 as MP for Neath and served in a series Cabinet posts under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Peter Hain, then Northern Ireland Secretary, in his office at the Stormont Assembly building in Belfast in 2007
In his most senior post, he served as Northern Ireland Secretary and acting First Minister of Northern Ireland during a period of direct rule in 2007.
A married father of two, Hain entered the House of Lords after the 2015 General Election.
Hain’s last brush with the law came during a bizarre contempt of court case in March 2012.
The then Attorney General of Northern Ireland John Larkin tried to prosecute Hain for comments in a book about a 2007 judicial review.
The case descended into farce when the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland tried to charge him with ‘scandalising the court’, an arcane 19th Century offence. The case was dropped a month before its trial date.
Sir Philip has also been criticised for the pay and conditions of both overseas and UK workers by anti-sweatshop groups such as Labour Behind the Label, No Sweat and the student activist network People & Planet.
Speaking at the time, an Arcadia spokesman said: ‘Arcadia has a clear code of conduct to which all of its suppliers sign up. This code sets out rigorous processes and best practice for the use of labour everywhere we operate.
‘The factories we work with are also used by other well-respected retailers and, like them, we have teams who regularly inspect these sites. We take such inspections seriously and constantly review all suppliers of product to the group.’
Sir Philip splits his time between the UK and Monaco and is also frequently seen aboard his £115million yacht.
He also enjoys trips aboard the vessel, the Lionheart, to Greece and the Mediterranean.
Sir Philip is married to Lady Tina Green, another billionaire, and they have two children – Chloe and her brother Brandon.
Lady Tina owns Jersey-registered Taveta Investments, which owns 92 per cent of Arcadia, and the couple have been criticised previously over their tax arrangements because of their Monaco residence.
In 2010 it even prompted demonstrations in Topshop in Oxford Street by campaigners alleging they were avoiding playing income tax by working in the UK but living abroad.
Sir Philip is also well-known for hosting lavish parties for his friends and families frequently attended by celebrity friends including supermodel Kate Moss.
For his son’s bar mitzvah in 2005, he spent £4 million on a three-day event for over 200 friends and family in the French Riviera. He also hired Andrea Bocelli and Destiny’s Child to perform.
For his nephew, Matt, he threw a bar mitzvah at Madame Tussauds, where Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh were guests and One Direction performed.
Matt and Chloe shared a birthday party in December 2011, at One Mayfair, where Rihanna sang, and many personal friends of the family attended.
The star-studded bash was featured in the national press and cost more than £1 million.
THE STARS WHO USED THEIR WEALTH TO HIDE THEIR AFFAIRS
A large number of household names have secured injunctions to hide their affairs – often using their families and children as a reason to keep their extramarital sex secret.
Here are the ones we still cannot name:
Known as PJS, or the ‘olive oil bath threesome’ celebrity after lower courts initially refused him a privacy injunction because his cheating contradicted his public portrayal of married commitment.
Household name who used an injunction to hush up claims he cheated on his partner with another celeb.
Leading actor, married, a father. Cheated on his wife with Helen Wood, same prostitute who slept with Wayne Rooney. Helen Wood claims she had sexual relationship with the actor, whom she met through an acquaintance.
A high profile celebrity woman described as a ‘figure of trust’ was granted an injunction in Manchester in May last year to prevent her lover from leaking details of her affair with a famous married man to the press.
A married Premier League boss is currently threatening to gag The Sun over an alleged secret lover. He is the same manager who previously won a court order banning revelations about another affair.
Obtained an injunction to stop a woman revealing details of sexual encounters which took place in his home, because it would be ‘very distressing for his family’ to hear of them.
Married with children, the Premier League star took out an injunction to stop his philandering becoming known.
A multimillionaire sportsman – not a footballer – he is married and a father, but won an order to suppress any suggestions of an ‘extra marital affair’.
The household name star and ‘family’ man was allowed to suppress ‘intimate’ photos of him with a woman with a permanent gagging order – previously reserved for killer children – and the woman was even told she had a ‘duty of confidence’ to the celebrity.
A well-known married man working in the entertainment industry who had an affair with a colleague.
An international star with a long-standing partner, he hushed up claims of ‘illicit sex’ with a woman.
2001 – won injunction
Flitcroft, millionaire father of a seven-month-old daughter, spent £200,000 on his court battle to stop a Sunday newspaper publishing details of his secret relationships with a lapdancer and nursery nurse.
It ended in 2002 when the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, turned down a final plea from the player’s lawyers for his anonymity to be continued after learning that Flitcroft himself had negotiated with another newspaper to sell his version of events.
He had also told his wife, Karen, something about the affairs.
2003 – failed injunction
Liverpool stars tried to block claims they had threesome with a woman.
2004 – failed injunction
Ordered lawyers to seek injunction against Sky broadcasting Rebecca Loos interview, but no injunction was granted. His former personal assistant claimed she had a four-month affair with him, which he denies.
Beckham’s lawyers said she was breaking a confidentiality agreement.
18 January 2008 – won injunction
Andrew Marr used a gagging order to hush up an extra-marital affair- and was the first public figure voluntarily to admit trying to conceal his infidelity.
Mr Marr won a High Court injunction in January 2008 to suppress reports of a relationship with a fellow journalist five years earlier.
At the time, he believed he had fathered a child with the woman. He also made maintenance payments – until he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the girl’s father.
25 Jan 2010 – injunction ordered – scrapped four days later
The Chelsea skipper is claimed to have cheated behind his wife’s back. The England captain married Toni Poole in 2007.
The Chelsea star had initially used human rights laws to obtain a gagging order against the press, claiming his right to a ‘private and family life’.
But the judge who threw out the order said he thought Terry was more concerned about the threat to his lucrative sponsorship deals.
6 Oct 2010 – injunction granted
Jeremy Clarkson lifted his own a gagging order preventing his ex-wife from claiming they had an affair after he remarried.
The Top Gear presenter won an injunction last year banning Alex Hall from revealing intimate details of their relationship, including allegations that they had sex after Clarkson wed his second wife Francie.
At the time the father of three could be described only as ‘a married TV star’ and his first wife’s identity was kept secret as he became the latest figure to use the courts to protect his privacy.
Clarkson decided to unmask himself after concluding: ‘Injunctions don’t work – it’s pointless
14 April 2011 – injunction granted in High Court
Ryan Giggs paid the price for his secrecy battle as Parliament launched a dramatic fightback against the judiciary.
John Hemming’s intervention in 2011, applauded by fellow MPs, ended the Manchester United star’s fight to maintain his reputation as a faithful husband – despite an alleged affair with model Imogen Thomas.
Less than 24 hours earlier, 37-year-old Giggs had presented his wife Stacey and two young children to a 76,000-strong crowd at Old Trafford and a global television audience.
It later emerged he had an affair with his brother’s wife – and his wife Stacey left him this year after allegations he flirted with a PR girl.