It was billed as the chance to exchange small-talk with Bill Clinton and rub shoulders with glamorous celebrities. But angry guests who attended a London fundraiser for the former US president are to receive refunds after the hosts admitted that the event, described as the “worst party ever”, was a total shambles.
Guests, who paid up to £1,000 a ticket to attend the party, held at the Old Vic Tunnels, Waterloo, on Tuesday night, complained of huge queues whilst the A-listers where hustled inside. When entry was finally granted, they encountered overcrowded rooms and perspiration dripping off the walls at a subterranean venue which “stank”.
Hosted by Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea, the bash was attended by actress Gwyneth Paltrow, model Lily Cole and included a musical performance by Will.i.am.
But furious guests tweeted pictures of a queue of 300 people being made to wait for up to two hours outside. When Marie Phillips, author of the novel Gods Behaving Badly, made it past the security, she tweeted: “There is literally damp dripping from the ceiling. Clinton talked about climate change for 30 secs...WORST. PARTY. EVER. The queue was the highlight. Unbelievable.”
The evening, intended to raise funds forthe Clinton Foundation Millennium Network, was co-hosted by the Reuben Foundation, created 10 years ago to channel the charitable giving of property tycoons David and Simon Reuben, who have an estimated £6bn fortune.
Richard Stone, a foundation trustee, appeared to lay the blame with the former president’s team in a scathing letter sent to senior William J Clinton Foundation officials.
The foundation had been “inundated” with complaints from friends who found the event “chaotic and overcrowded”. Mr Stone said he wanted to “express our sincere disappointment” at the event, which he described as a “total shambles”.
In the letter, leaked to The Daily Telegraph, he wrote: “We are frankly embarrassed to have been associated with such a poorly run occasion. Ultimately, it is very upsetting that those who paid money to attend were left with a bitter taste in their mouths due to bad event planning and shambolic organisation on the night.”
Several ticket-holders gave up hope of entry and got taxis home. “We certainly think that those who left withoutentering or those who missed most of the event should be entitled to a refund,” Mr Stone wrote.
Guests paid £125 for a standard entry ticket, with the £1,000 package guaranteeing a meeting with Clinton. today Ms Phillips said she had received “a polite apology and offer of refund from Clinton Foundation” which she offered to donate to charity.