United Kingdom 'old boys' club rocked by sexual misconduct accusations


The Presidents Club, the group behind a United Kingdom charity fundraiser, will close and not host any further fundraising events following allegations of harassment at a London dinner.

The FT sent two reporters to work undercover as hostesses at Thursday's event attended by 360 guests in the ballroom of the luxury Dorchester Hotel in central London.

"We have chose to return this money, as we do not wish to be associated with the kind of behaviour which reportedly took place at their annual fundraising dinner last week, and we will no longer accept gifts from this charity in future".

"It is quite extraordinary to me that in the 21st century allegations of this kind are still emerging", said Anne Milton, junior education minister, said.

Tracy Howarth, head of regulatory compliance at the Charity Commission, said: "The public hold charities to the highest standards, both in what they do and how they go about it".

The world-famous hospital for children announced it would be returning previous donations from the Presidents Club after allegations of sexual harassment at the men-only fundraiser.

She says staff were sexually harassed and propositioned.

A spokeswoman for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity described reports about the event as shocking and said: "We would never knowingly accept donations raised in this way.

The Presidents Club said: "The Presidents Club recently hosted its annual dinner, raising several million pounds for disadvantaged children". Then he announced in a statement released at the end of the day, that he will end its activities and return the money he has left to charities for children. They were told that the men might be "annoying", the FT reported.

One hostess, according to the FT, was asked whether she was a prostitute by a man in his seventies, while another had her legs, stomach, bottom and hips fondled.

Madison Marriage, who was hired as one of the hostesses, recorded the evening on a hidden camera, and reported on it in an article for the FT.

I did not witness any of the kind of behaviour that allegedly occurred and am absolutely appalled by the reports.

The newspaper said lots put up for auction during the gala event included a night at a strip club and a course of plastic surgery, with the invitation "Add spice to your wife".

Revelations about the black-tie event, attended by top names from the fields of finance, politics and entertainment in the United Kingdom, prompted outrage a time when the issue of sexual harassment is in the spotlight. We were not aware of any claims during or immediately following the charitable event. Some senior investment bankers were more circumspect, acknowledging that the finance industry had a gender problem yet saying they had not heard of such events before.

The Dorchester Hotel in London said it was "deeply concerned", the BBC reported. "Women have the right to feel safe wherever they work and allegations of this type of behavior are completely unacceptable".

Britain's First Secretary of State Damian Green was forced to resign after making "inaccurate and misleading" statements during an investigation into pornographic images found on a Parliament computer in his office in 2008, while U.K. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon weeks earlier stepped down after historic allegations of inappropriate touching.

Organisers of the event said they were "appalled" by allegations of impropriety.

Labour's Jess Phillips said there were serious questions to be asked about the fact education minister Nadhim Zahawi had attended the event.