Philip Green finally breaks his silence over ‘allegations of racism and sexual harassment’

Sir Philip Green last night broke his silence over the allegations of racism and sexual harassment against him – telling The Mail on Sunday he had suffered ‘the worst week of my life’.

TopShop boss Sir Philip, 66, was last week identified as the man who had taken out an injunction preventing publication of allegations about his harassment of staff, which he strenuously denies.

Speaking for the first time since the scandal erupted, the TopShop owner said that he had indulged in nothing more than ‘banter’ with his staff, claiming he had a good relationship with those who worked for him.

He added: ‘I’m very, very, very upset. I’m being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It’s injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it’s injuring me and my family.’

But his claims of being a victim – including complaints of being harassed himself – are likely to anger those who have accused him of bullying behaviour and sexual misconduct.

Breaking his silence: Sir Philip Green with his wife, Lady Tina. Speaking for the first time since the scandal erupted, the TopShop owner said that he had indulged in nothing more than 'banter' with his staff, claiming he had a good relationship with those who worked for him

Breaking his silence: Sir Philip Green with his wife, Lady Tina. Speaking for the first time since the scandal erupted, the TopShop owner said that he had indulged in nothing more than 'banter' with his staff, claiming he had a good relationship with those who worked for him

Breaking his silence: Sir Philip Green with his wife, Lady Tina. Speaking for the first time since the scandal erupted, the TopShop owner said that he had indulged in nothing more than ‘banter’ with his staff, claiming he had a good relationship with those who worked for him

Sir Philip said: 'I'm very, very, very upset. I'm being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It's injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it's injuring me and my family.' Above, in Arizona this week

Sir Philip said: 'I'm very, very, very upset. I'm being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It's injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it's injuring me and my family.' Above, in Arizona this week

Sir Philip said: ‘I’m very, very, very upset. I’m being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It’s injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it’s injuring me and my family.’ Above, in Arizona this week

The Mail on Sunday spoke to Sir Philip at a spa resort in Arizona, where he has been holed up since the accusations broke.

Asked what his wife, Tina, thought of the allegations, he said: ‘Tina is horrified, she’s appalled that people are treating us like this. We all feel the same. It’s a horror story. Somebody can say whatever they like and people just follow you around, chasing you and harassing you.

‘I’ve been in business for more than 40 years. There has obviously from time to time been some banter, but as far as I’m concerned that’s never been offensive.

‘I’ve got a good relationship with all my staff. In all that time, until the recent issues, I’ve not had one litigation or complaint.

‘If anything I’ve said has caused offence, I’m happy to apologise. Nothing I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive.

‘Many people have worked for the family for many years and I’ve never had any problems.’

Sir Philip’s Mail on Sunday interview came as:

  • He faced damaging new claims that he racially abused Filipino crew on his £115 million superyacht, calling them ‘f*****g lazy Flippers’;
  • New allegations of sexual harassment emerged from a string of former employees, including the claim he asked women in meetings if they ‘needed their bottoms slapped’ because they were ‘naughty girls’;
  • Green hit out at Lord Hain – who had used parliamentary privilege to name him in the House of Lords last week – but the Labour peer said that he would ‘not be cowed’.

The storm engulfing the flamboyant, outspoken tycoon last night showed no sign of abating as he angrily clashed with TV reporters who tracked him down to his Arizona hideout.

Sir Philip said he was in New York when it became clear he was the businessman at the centre of the allegations that had been at the centre of the controversy, dubbed the British #MeToo – the movement to name and shame sex pests sparked by the downfall of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

The TopShop boss and former owner of BHS had initially prevented the Daily Telegraph from reporting the allegations against him by taking out an injunction.

Sir Philip with top models in 2014. There is no suggestion that anyone pictured is involved in any of the allegations against him

Sir Philip with top models in 2014. There is no suggestion that anyone pictured is involved in any of the allegations against him

Sir Philip with top models in 2014. There is no suggestion that anyone pictured is involved in any of the allegations against him

This was granted by the court on the basis that the employees who were making the allegations had signed so-called non-disclosure agreements, and the newspaper was also bound by these.

That led to a guessing game about the identity of the businessman at the centre of the allegations.

It only became public when former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain used parliamentary privilege, which protects him from being sued, to name Sir Philip.

The retail mogul said he knew the injunction had been granted ‘but had no idea that anything was going to happen after that.’ 

Green hit out at Lord Hain (above) – who had used parliamentary privilege to name him in the House of Lords last week – but the Labour peer said that he would 'not be cowed'

Green hit out at Lord Hain (above) – who had used parliamentary privilege to name him in the House of Lords last week – but the Labour peer said that he would 'not be cowed'

Green hit out at Lord Hain (above) – who had used parliamentary privilege to name him in the House of Lords last week – but the Labour peer said that he would ‘not be cowed’

Last night, Sir Philip said: ‘Peter Hain’s behaviour is just disgusting. People can take the law into their own hands? Decide they don’t agree with three senior judges? And just tip everybody’s lives upside-down?

‘From a personal point of view, everyone has been fabulously supportive. I’ve had many former employees and current ones messaging me and saying they are very upset about the allegations. People crying on the phone saying how can they help?’

‘The whole thing is disgusting, this has got nothing to do with any sexual misconduct. It’s nonsense.

‘This cannot be right: knocking on people’s doors, harassing people trying to make them say something that’s not true.’

Of the claims of racism aboard his Lionheart superyacht, he explained: ‘ My family’s longest-serving Filipino employee, who brings many others to work for us, has been with us 28 years.

‘The family still employs many Filipinos and anyone who is telling you there is any issue with Filipinos is just making trouble. I’ve never said such a thing, I’ve never even heard that word before.’

Sir Philip Green now faces claims he called Filipino crew on his £115million superyacht ‘lazy f****** Flippers’

Sir Philip Green was last night facing damaging new claims he racially abused Filipino crew on his superyacht by calling them ‘f****** lazy Flippers’.

According to a source close to the tycoon’s staff in the tax haven of Monaco, when some of the employees complained that the term was racist, they were sacked and replaced.

Last night Sir Philip denied being racist and said he still employed Filipino staff.

The development comes after he was identified last week as the man behind an injunction preventing publication in the Telegraph of allegations about the sexual harassment of staff.

Sir Philip Green (above, in Tucson, Arizona this week) was last night facing damaging new claims he racially abused Filipino crew on his superyacht by calling them 'f****** lazy Flippers'. According to a source close to the tycoon's staff in the tax haven of Monaco, when some of the employees complained that the term was racist, they were sacked and replaced

Sir Philip Green (above, in Tucson, Arizona this week) was last night facing damaging new claims he racially abused Filipino crew on his superyacht by calling them 'f****** lazy Flippers'. According to a source close to the tycoon's staff in the tax haven of Monaco, when some of the employees complained that the term was racist, they were sacked and replaced

Sir Philip Green (above, in Tucson, Arizona this week) was last night facing damaging new claims he racially abused Filipino crew on his superyacht by calling them ‘f****** lazy Flippers’. According to a source close to the tycoon’s staff in the tax haven of Monaco, when some of the employees complained that the term was racist, they were sacked and replaced

Yesterday on the Cote d'Azur, a source close to the crew of Sir Philip's £115 million Lionheart superyacht (file image) provided the MoS with a revealing insight into the 'brutal' working life for those aboard the 295ft boat or at his various properties in the area

Yesterday on the Cote d'Azur, a source close to the crew of Sir Philip's £115 million Lionheart superyacht (file image) provided the MoS with a revealing insight into the 'brutal' working life for those aboard the 295ft boat or at his various properties in the area

Yesterday on the Cote d’Azur, a source close to the crew of Sir Philip’s £115 million Lionheart superyacht (file image) provided the MoS with a revealing insight into the ‘brutal’ working life for those aboard the 295ft boat or at his various properties in the area

The storm engulfing the billionaire last night showed no sign of abating as he clashed with media who tracked him down to a spa resort in Arizona.

Hours earlier, he had faced claims of sexual harassment and sleazy behaviour from a string of former employees. The Guardian reported allegations he had asked women in meetings if they ‘needed their bottoms slapped’ because they were ‘naughty girls’.

Sir Philip also hit out at Lord Hain – who named him in the House of Lords last week – saying he would report him to the authorities over a suggested conflict of interest because of his links to a firm of lawyers representing the Telegraph.

Yesterday on the Cote d’Azur, a source close to the crew of Sir Philip’s £115 million Lionheart superyacht provided the MoS with a revealing insight into the ‘brutal’ working life for those aboard the 295ft boat or at his various properties in the area.

According to the insider, Sir Philip allegedly lines up staff on the boat and shouts at them if anything isn’t the way he expects it. 

The 30-strong crew, who wear cream uniforms, look after up to 12 guests in six ‘staterooms’ on the yacht, which is fitted in Italian marble and is four storeys high with its own helipad.

According to the insider, Sir Philip allegedly lines up staff on the boat and shouts at them if anything isn't the way he expects it. The 30-strong crew, who wear cream uniforms, look after up to 12 guests in six 'staterooms' on the yacht, which is fitted in Italian marble and is four storeys high with its own helipad

According to the insider, Sir Philip allegedly lines up staff on the boat and shouts at them if anything isn't the way he expects it. The 30-strong crew, who wear cream uniforms, look after up to 12 guests in six 'staterooms' on the yacht, which is fitted in Italian marble and is four storeys high with its own helipad

According to the insider, Sir Philip allegedly lines up staff on the boat and shouts at them if anything isn’t the way he expects it. The 30-strong crew, who wear cream uniforms, look after up to 12 guests in six ‘staterooms’ on the yacht, which is fitted in Italian marble and is four storeys high with its own helipad

The source claimed that until about five years ago, the Filipino members of the crew were regularly addressed by Sir Philip as ‘You f****** lazy Flippers’ – a term which some objected to as a racial slur.

According to online Urban Dictionary, the term was used as an insult by World War Two US servicemen and Flip stands for ‘F****** Little Island People’. Sir Philip’s response at the claim of racism was – it is alleged – to have them replaced.

For those remaining on board, especially the squad of mostly British glamorous young women who work as hostesses and personal assistants, the gruelling work regime has its rewards with tax-free salary packages of up to £250,000 a year. Many were recruited by Lady Green, rather than the tycoon himself, said the source.

‘It’s a great salary, and most of them have their own nannies and have properties in the hills above Monte Carlo,’ said the source. ‘But they have to put up with a lot for it. He treats women like pretty ornaments.

‘A couple of stewardesses came off the yacht when it came back after several months away on charter and they were clutching envelopes full of cash. It was several thousand pounds each, which was an end-of- season tip and they were holding on to each other and crying with exhaustion.’

As Sir Philip tried to avoid the media at his £2.3 million home in the grounds of the Canyon Ranch luxury spa in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday, his wife Tina and daughter Chloe (also pictured) were under siege at their penthouse flat in Monaco, apparently watching box sets on Netflix

As Sir Philip tried to avoid the media at his £2.3 million home in the grounds of the Canyon Ranch luxury spa in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday, his wife Tina and daughter Chloe (also pictured) were under siege at their penthouse flat in Monaco, apparently watching box sets on Netflix

As Sir Philip tried to avoid the media at his £2.3 million home in the grounds of the Canyon Ranch luxury spa in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday, his wife Tina and daughter Chloe (also pictured) were under siege at their penthouse flat in Monaco, apparently watching box sets on Netflix

Another source recalled how when a TV news crew tracked his yacht down and fired questions at him last summer during the scandal surrounding the collapse of BHS, he allegedly went through staff members’ phones on board checking messages and then turned his sights on people who work for him in London saying they must have tipped off the media.

‘He exploded and yelled every swear word under the sun,’ says a barman in Monaco’s port where his yacht is often moored. ‘A couple of the stewardesses were blinking back tears when they came for drinks after work.

‘But yachting can be like that, you are expected to tolerate all kinds of outrageous behaviour and you pick up a hefty tax-free sum at the end of the season.’ The source said Sir Philip’s inappropriate remarks would often leave those around him asking, ‘Can you believe he said that?’

‘His attitude is that everyone is either out to get him because they envy him or because they want some of his cash,’ the source added. ‘I’ve heard him saying that he hates most British people these days and that they’re all determined to send him to an early grave.

‘He seems quite hurt nobody really likes him in the UK and says everyone has forgotten the good he has done for the country purely because he is rich.’

As Sir Philip tried to avoid the media at his £2.3 million home in the grounds of the Canyon Ranch luxury spa in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday, his wife Tina and daughter Chloe were also under siege at their penthouse flat in Monaco, apparently watching box sets on Netflix.

‘They wanted to go shopping in Cannes this weekend but they can’t face going out,’ said a source. ‘Nobody in Monaco cares and shrugs it off when Philip is in the papers, but they don’t want to be dragged into all of this.’

Link hienalouca.com

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