The Latest: UK charity closing in wake of harassment claims
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on reports of sexual harassment of women at an event in London (all times local):
British charitable trust the Presidents Club says it is shutting down after a newspaper expose of sexual misconduct at its men-only fundraising dinner.
The Financial Times says undercover reporters working as hostesses at the black-tie gala saw women being harassed and groped at the event, attended by hundreds of senior executives.
The story sparked outrage from senior politicians.
The Presidents Club said Wednesday that its trustees had decided not to host any more fundraising events. It said “remaining funds will be distributed in an efficient manner to children’s charities and it will then be closed.”
Last week’s event raised money for hospitals and other groups through a charity auction. Recipients including London’s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital say they will return money donated by the Presidents Club.
The Bank of England says Gov. Mark Carney is deeply dismayed by reports of harassment at a charity gala which offered a meeting with him as an auction prize.
The bank said Wednesday it wasn’t aware of the Presidents Club dinner, and didn’t approve any auction prize for the event.
However, the bank says it appears the successful bidder for a tour of the bank made at the charity auction of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal subsequently re-auctioned this prize at the Presidents Club Dinner.
The bank says the “unauthorized re-auctioning of the prize at the Presidents Club dinner was clearly against the spirit of the original donation. The Bank has therefore made clear that it has been withdrawn.”
A Financial Times report revealed that hostesses were groped at the event.
Comedian David Walliams said he didn’t see any sexual misconduct at a men-only charity fundraiser that he hosted, adding he was “absolutely appalled by the reports.”
The Financial Times says undercover reporters at last week’s Presidents Club dinner saw women hired as hostesses being harassed and groped at the event, which was attended by hundreds of senior executives.
Walliams, who is also a successful children’s author, tweeted Wednesday that he left London’s Dorchester Hotel once he had finished his presenting duties at the dinner and did not witness any of the reported misconduct.
An adviser to Britain’s Department of Education has stepped down amid a growing scandal following reports of groping and lewd behavior at a men’s only charity gala dinner in London last week.
Anne Milton, Britain’s education minister, says David Meller, who chairs the Presidents Club event, is stepping down from his role as an adviser to the department following the revelations in a Financial Times investigation.
The report said some 100 female hostesses were hired to entertain hundreds of businessmen and political figures at the men-only fundraising dinner, and that the hostesses reported harassment including “repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms.”
Milton led condemnation of the behavior, telling the House of Commons that “it is quite extraordinary to me that in the 21st Century allegations of this kind are emerging.”
Labour lawmaker Jess Phillips welcomed Meller’s resignation, saying the alleged behavior was “totally unacceptable.”
Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital says it will return donations from a U.K. charity involved in allegations that women were groped at a fundraising gala attended by hundreds of senior executives and lawmakers.
The men-only event at London’s Dorchester Hotel, which was held to raise money for charities, featured some 100 female hostesses, including two undercover Financial Times reporters. The journalists described harassment, lewd comments and “repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms.”
The children’s hospital says Wednesday it was shocked to learn of the behavior at the Presidents Club dinner and that it wouldn’t knowingly accept donations raised this way.
The hospital says that it was never supposed to receive money from the dinner but that it will return previous donations and “no longer accept gifts from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust.”
Senior women in Britain’s Parliament are demanding tougher laws against harassment after a Financial Times investigation found that women were groped at a men-only charity gala attended by hundreds of senior executives and lawmakers.
The event at London’s Dorchester Hotel, which was held to raise money for charities, featured some 100 female hostesses, including two undercover FT reporters. The journalists described harassment, lewd comments and “repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms elsewhere in the Dorchester.”
The event featured auction prizes of tea with Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney and lunch with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Equalities committee chair Maria Miller tweeted she hopes “every man who attended this event will think twice before accepting another invitation to a ‘men only’ event with more than 100 female hostesses.”