The hashtag #PinkNotGreen has been trending on Twitter after Sir Philip Green was named in Parliament as the businessman facing allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.
Lord Hain used the protection of parliamentary privilege to identify the Arcadia chairman as the man behind a legal injunction preventing The Daily Telegraph from publishing “confidential information” from five employees.
Green has said he “categorically and wholly” denies allegations of “unlawful sexual or racist behaviour”.
After the news broke, Twitter was awash with calls to boycott Arcadia shops such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge.
But the boycott has also prompted warnings that it could backfire and hurt the people it aims to stand up for, with people arguing those most likely to be . affected are the “thousands of low-paid workers”, not the multi-billionaire Green.
The hashtag originally began earlier this month when Topshop took down a pop-up by writer Scarlett Curtis to promote her book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies).
Arcadia Group owns more than 2,500 shops in the UK, employing over 22,000 people.
As well as relying on their successful operation to make a living, many also rely on them for pensions, as was made clear when BHS entered administration with debts totalling £1.3 billion including a £571 million pensions deficit.
The department store collapsed shortly shortly after Green sold the company for just £1.
In contrast, Green is worth around £3.9 billion, owns a 90-metre super yacht named Lionheart and could likely weather a boycott of his stores.
Lord Hain, the former Labour leader of the House of Commons, on Thursday used parliamentary privilege to say Green’s name, circumventing an injunction prohibiting the press from naming him.
He said: “I feel it’s my duty under parliamentary privilege to name Philip Green as the individual in question, given that the media have been subject to an injunction preventing publication of the full details of this story which is clearly in the public interest.”
Hain was able to do this because Members of Parliament have legal immunity from actions or statements they make in the house.