Mounting allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and abuse are threatening to topple British retail mogul Sir Philip Green, as the female entrepreneurs and celebrities who once powered his Topshop clothing brand turn away.
Green, the billionaire chairman of Topshop parent company Arcadia Group, faces misdemeanor assault charges in Arizona for allegedly groping and making lewd comments to a Pilates instructor, who called him “the British Harvey Weinstein,” according to Bloomberg. She joins five former employees who accused him last year of sexual harassment and abuse. He has denied their claims.
Green faces the allegations at the height of his ongoing effort to save his retail empire from insolvency. Last month he reached an agreement with landlords to slash rents while laying off some 1,000 workers and closing almost 50 of the company’s 566 stores, including all 11 American Topshop locations. He also injected about $500 million into Arcadia company directly, mostly to shore up its ailing pension fund.
The high-end Topshop clothing brand owes some of its success to model Kate Moss, who designed 14 lines of clothing for the store starting in 2007, and Beyoncé, who partnered with Topshop to sell an active wear line in 2016. Both women have ended their business relationships with Green.
And this year, both Topshop fashion director Maddy Evans and Karren Brady, the chairwoman of the holding company that owns Arcadia, bolted from the firm.
Now, even after Green’s latest cash infusion, some analysts say he may have no choice but to sell or break up his company, as it struggles to keep pace with online retailers and direct competitors like Primark and Boohoo.
[Bloomberg] — Alex Nitkin