By World Economic Forum [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bank of England and WPP, an advertising giant, have both ended all ties with The Presidents Club, a charity organisation, after an investigation exposed shocking levels of sexual harassment and groping of hostesses taking place during its men-only charity dinner.
An investigation that was initiated by the Financial Times revealed that hostesses during the annual event, which is completed by an auction, are obliged to dress in skimpy outfits, are plied with alcohol and are groped by the guests, which included grandees of the City.
Following the publishing of the revelations yesterday, WPP said that it would no longer sponsor a table at the dinner.
Today, in a statement, it stated: “WPP has traditionally sponsored a table at the Presidents Club dinner to support its fundraising for children’s charities. Neither the company nor our attendees were aware of the alleged incidents until informed of them by the Financial Times.
“WPP takes these reports very seriously and, while we will continue to support relevant charities, in light of the allegations we are ending our association with the event.”
Meanwhile, the FT reported today that the Bank of England also cancelled a prize that it offered for the charity auction: a tea with Mark Carney, the BoE governor, while one of the beneficiaries of the dinner, Great Ormond Street, said that it would return the donations that were received from the charitable trust of the organisation as a consequence of the “wholly unacceptable nature of the event.”
However, a spokesperson stated: “The Bank of England did not approve any prize for auction on the occasion described nor would it have for that organisation under its guidelines for charitable giving.”
Female MPs also criticised the said event, with Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader, describing it as being “simply stomach-churning.”