Sir Philip Green has rejected allegations that he sexually harassed and racially abused his staff – insisting he had only been involved in “some banter”.
The Topshop boss complained he was being “used as target practice” after a former MP named him in parliament as the businessman at the centre of the claims.
“I’m very, very, very upset,” he told the Mail on Sunday. “It’s injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it’s injuring me and my family.”
He added: “I’ve been in business for more than 40 years. There has obviously from time to time been some banter and a bit of humour, but as far as I’m concerned there was never any intent to be offensive. If anything I’ve said has caused offence, I’m happy to apologise. Nothing I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive.”
Sir Philip, who is staying at a health resort in Tucson, Arizona, said he had suffered “the worst week of my life” and added that his wife Tina was “appalled that people are are treating us like this”.
“It’s a horror story,” he added. “Somebody can say whatever they like and people just follow you around, chasing you and harassing you.”
He also claimed that several current and former employees had offered their support since the allegations were made public.
“The whole thing is disgusting, this has got nothing to do with any sexual misconduct,” said Sir Philip. “It’s nonsense.”
The retail tycoon has taken out a temporary privacy injunction to prevent the media from publishing the claims but was named by former Labour cabinet minister Peter Hain in parliament last week.
It has since emerged that Lord Hain is an adviser for the law firm Gordon Dadds, which is fighting the case on behalf of The Daily Telegraph.
Sir Philip has said he intends to complain to parliamentary authorities that Lord Hain failed to disclose he had a financial relationship with the newspaper’s lawyers.
“I have been advised that his actions are likely to have been a breach of the House of Lords code of conduct,” said Sir Philip. “As many people have said, Lord Hain’s blatant disregard of a judgment made by three senior judges is outrageous.”
In an earlier statement he “categorically and wholly” denied allegations of “unlawful sexual or racist behaviour”.
Lord Hain said he was unaware that Gordon Dadds was involved in the case and dismissed Sir Philip’s allegation as a “malevolent diversion”.
“I stand resolutely by what I’ve said and neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights,” he said.
Lord Hain has been criticised by legal experts for naming the businessman in parliament while the case was still going through the courts.
Former attorney general Dominic Grieve QC said Lord Hain’s behaviour had been “clearly arrogant”.
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