Sir Philip Green has broken his silence over the allegations of racism and sexual harassment against him, saying he had indulged in nothing more than ‘banter’ with his staff.
After he was named in Parliament as the businessman at the centre of the #MeToo claims, he complained he had been used for “target practice”.
In an interview with The Mail on Sunday at the spa resort in Arizona, where he has been holed up since the accusations broke, he described the past days as a “horror story” and said the furore was “injuring” his business.
He added that his wife was “appalled that people are treating [them] like this”.
The retail tycoon was named on Thursday as the businessman at the centre of abuse allegations by former cabinet minister Lord Hain, using parliamentary privilege.
The explosive move came after an injunction was served against the Daily Telegraph newspaper, banning them from reporting a businessman’s name in connection with their nine-month investigation.
Green has said he “categorically and wholly” denies allegations of “unlawful sexual or racist behaviour”.
He told the Mail on Sunday: “I’m very, very, very upset. I’m being used as target practice when there is zero [evidence] that anyone has turned up with. It’s injuring my business, all the people potentially working in the business, and it’s injuring me and my family.”
Referring to his wife, Tina, he said she was horrified at the allegations and appalled “that people are treating us like this”.
He said: “We all feel the same. It’s a horror story. Somebody can say whatever they like and people just follow you around, chasing you and harassing you. I’ve been in business for more than 40 years. There has obviously from time to time been some banter, but as far as I’m concerned that’s never been offensive.
He said that until the “recent issues”, he had not had one litigation or complaint.
“If anything I’ve said has caused offence, I’m happy to apologise. Nothing I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive. Many people have worked for the family for many years and I’ve never had any problems.”
Green has said he will issue a formal complaint to the Lords authorities regarding Lord Hain’s decision to name him, but the peer has stood by his decision.
Lord Hain told the Press Association: “I stand RESOLUTELY by what I’ve said and neither retract nor apologise for standing up for human rights.”
He added: “I always comply fully with my House of Lords obligations as I did on that occasion. His complaint is a malevolent diversion.”
The retail tycoon reportedly told the BBC he will complain that the peer failed to disclose he had a financial relationship with the Telegraph’s lawyers.