“It was hands under the skirt, hands on the butt”: the report of a covert journalist about sexual harassment at a charity dinner for the rich and famous in London

“It was hands under the skirt, hands on the butt”: the report of a covert journalist about sexual harassment at a charity dinner for the rich and famous in London


Some of the girls who worked as hostesses at the event were left in shock.

“It was hands under the skirt, hands on the back, but also hands on hips, on the belly, arms around your waist unexpectedly,” described the situation Financial Times journalist Madison Marriage.

Marriage attended the prestigious charity dinner President’s Club Charity Dinner, a men-only event organized annually in the United Kingdom and attended by 360 personalities from the world of politics and business this year.

The official goal of this solidarity act is to raise funds for causes such as the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children in London.

And in an interview with the BBC Marriage shared details of the harassment that she and other women suffered during the meeting, held last Thursday at a luxury hotel in London.

After the complaint, the President’s Club announced on Wednesday that close to and that the remaining funds will be redistributed to charities for children “efficiently.”

In a statement, the institution indicated that the organizers were “dismayed” by the accusations and that such behaviors were “totally unacceptable.”

“The accusations will be investigated completely and quickly and appropriate measures will be taken,” they said.

A spokesperson for the Artist agency , who recruited the hostesses, said he was not aware of any claims of sexual harassment , but that the type of behavior alleged was “completely unacceptable.”

David MellerCopyright of the PA image
Image captionDavid Meller, one of the organizers of the dinner and member of the Department of Education of the United Kingdom, also resigned after the reports.

David Meller, co-president of the President’s Club and member of the Department of Education, also resigned after the reports were known.

The Minister of Education, Anne Milton, declared: “David Meller leaves his post as a non-executive member of the Department of Education (…) and I know that the Secretary of Education is clear on what is the right decision.”

The world’s largest advertising agency, WPP, which sponsored one of the tables of the event, announced that it will withdraw its support after the accusations made by the reporter, although its executive director, Martin Sorrell, assured the BBC that its guests did not they witnessed the behavior described by Marriage.

The Great Ormond and Evelina London hospitals announced, for their part, that they will return previous donations from the organizers after the accusations.

“Hands” everywhere

“They groped me several times and I know there are many workers who said the same thing happened to them,” the Financial Times reporter said.

“It was not, I suppose, a high-level manhandling, but one of the strangest things that happened is that you could be talking to a man and suddenly he was holding your hand.”

The journalist decided to attend the event to verify that the stories of harassment that had reached them were real.

“I had been warned that men could be upset (…) I knew that some of that could happen that night, but I was not 100 percent sure, but there are many other women who were there who had no idea that the event I was going to be like that . “

“A woman told me she was shocked, they asked if she was a prostitute.”

Marriage according to the 130 women who worked at the event were asked to be dressed in “sexy” black heels and underwear of the same color.

Dorchester Hotel.Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The dinner was held at the luxury hotel Dorchester in London.

They were also told that they could drink alcohol while working.

They charged £ 150 (US $ 213) plus £ 25 (US $ 35) for the taxi back home.

“Their first task,” says the newspaper report, “was to sign a confidentiality agreement, and the hostesses did not have the opportunity to read its contents or take a copy.”

“Uncomfortable event”

The BBC’s political affairs editor, Nicholas Watt, said that the conservative deputy Nadhim Zahawi was present at the dinner, but he left soon because “it was an uncomfortable and strange event”.

“It is worth noting that (Zahawi) had already attended this dinner on another occasion-before being elected as a deputy in 2010-but, as I see it, he thought that the event then was completely different from that of last week”.

The Presidents Club.
Image caption The charity says it has raised 20 million dollars for disadvantaged children since its foundation 33 years ago. Photo: Website of “The Presidents Club”.


The executive director of the WPP group said that the people who sat at the table that sponsored the company did not witness the behavior described by the disguised journalist.

Martin Sorrell was not present at the event this year, but said he had “never seen anything like it before “.

“We consulted the people at our table and they said they did not see anything of that kind.”

Martin SorrellCopyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The executive director of WPP, who sponsored one of the tables at the event, confirmed to the BBC that his company will withdraw support for the initiative.

“But we issued a statement saying that we will not help the charity in the future, which is unfortunate because it is an organization that supports numerous charitable groups that help children and has done a great job .”

The Dorchester hotel also declared itself “deeply concerned” and announced its own investigation.


The British government office announced that British Prime Minister Theresa May was “uncomfortable” with reports of the dinner, although a spokeswoman added that it was “an event she would not be invited to attend.”

Maria Miller, president of the select Women and Equalities Committee, told the BBC that the report was “cause for concern” and questioned whether the laws in the area were strong enough.

For her part, Jess Phillips, president of the Women’s Parliamentary Labor Party, told the BBC that it was “totally unacceptable for women to be hired as a flock to entertain a group of rich men.”

Theresa May
Image caption Theresa May

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon described as “brave” the journalist’s report for “exposing scandalous and unacceptable behavior.”

The Royal Academy of Music considered the accusations “deeply disturbing” and would reimburse a donation of US $ 14,200 and the Charity Commission indicated that it was investigating the claims “as a matter of urgency.”

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