Last Thursday 360 male leaders from business, politics, finance and entertainment gathered at The Dorchester hotel in London’s Mayfair donning tuxedos for a men’s only charity auction that has been held for the past 33 years.
The Presidents Club Charity Dinner is ostensibly a worthy annual event that has raised over 20 million pounds for charity but an undercover investigation has revealed there is a sleazy component to this supposedly ‘prestigious’ dinner.
Free to read: FT's inside story on the exclusive London charity dinner where hostesses were groped and sexually harassed https://t.co/uguBat9zY7
— Financial Times (@FT) January 24, 2018
Once the men were seated in the ballroom they were joined by the “entertainment” that came in the form of 130 young females hosts, dressed in skimpy black dresses and corset-like belts, who had been advised to wear high heels and matching underwear for the occasion.
The women were paraded out and then spread around the room for the viewing pleasure and titillation of the men. There was groping and harassment and inexplicable hand-holding, and propositioning.
— Jane Bradley (@jane__bradley) January 23, 2018
Unbeknownst to the guests and the organisers, some of the hostesses this year were undercover reporters from the Financial Times. The resulting expose by Madison Marriage on the dinner, dubbed “the most unPC event of the year” by the evening’s host, outlining the lewd treatment these women received is on track to be the newspaper’s most read article online in history.
FT News Editor @SpiegelPeter has emailed newsroom staff about @miss_marriage’s Presidents Club investigation: "We're already at 525,000 page views, and it's clearly headed to the most read piece of FT journalism online ever."
— Mark Di Stefano 🤙🏻 (@MarkDiStef) January 24, 2018
The report is sobering and is both shocking and predictable at once. Female hosts are reportedly a regular fixture at the annual event. They need to be “tall, thin & pretty” for a start, and they were required to sign a non-disclosure contract on their arrival at the venue that they weren’t allowed to read or keep. They were warned some guests might be “annoying” and there were brochures disseminated advising sexual harassment was forbidden.
More than a million hits now, silencing those who thought this was not a suitable or interesting subject for the FT https://t.co/kfWwTwIMKT
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) January 24, 2018
Many have pointed out the appalling hypocrisy from the various business leaders in attendance who publicly champion gender equality but are happy to take part in a blatantly sexist dinner that wouldn’t be out of place in the 1960s.
Reporter Madison Marriage goes undercover at one of London's most successful but secretive charity dinners. The Presidents Club Charity Dinner is a fundraiser like ‘something out of the 1970s’.
— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) January 23, 2018
The fact this has taken place in January of 2018, when the issue of sexual harassment is more visible than ever before thanks to #MeToo and #TimesUp, is disturbing.
This story is as crazy as everybody says, jaw-dropping behavior on so many levels https://t.co/XRw9ImeMx5
— Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) January 24, 2018
Do the organisers and attendees see themselves as above respect? Do they simply view women as chattels to enjoy? The fact 360 individual men in positions of power each determined that a men-only event with young female hosts as prey was appropriate to attend is an abysmal indictment on Britain’s “elite”.