A Presidents Club Donald Trump would be proud of

Since the Presidents Club story broke, there has been widespread outrage after hostesses were groped and sexually harassed at last week's event at London's Dorchester hotel.

Keep looking over your shoulders gentlemen, this crisis is just getting started, writes Emily Rogers
Keep looking over your shoulders gentlemen, this crisis is just getting started, writes Emily Rogers

It is difficult to imagine that none of this fallout will affect individuals there on the evening, such as David Walliams and Jonny Gould.

Indeed, David Meller has already decided to throw in the towel and whether minister for children and families Nadhim Zahawi will be forced to do the same remains to be seen.

Also see: WPP cuts ties with London charity gala accused of allowing sexual harassment

Although the Presidents Club, which hosted the event, said that it accepted no legal responsibility for what happened to those women last Thursday, it has since closed down.

Make of that what you will.

It is difficult to appreciate how violated the woman who had strangers’ hands up her skirt that evening, or the student who faced being exposed by one of the lecherous donors during the meal, felt when they woke up last Friday morning – and this happened on Park Lane, in front of hundreds of business leaders.

Over the past few months, there has been a major shift in attitudes to misogyny across the globe, with both men and women are beginning to believe that that those who commit sexual harassment should be held accountable by the people who work for or with them – but yet many still do not report predatory behaviour to their employer for fear of their position at work being badly impacted.

Given the #MeToo movement has shone a light on the misogynist culture among the sort of politicians, businessmen and celebrities who attended last week’s event, it is difficult to imagine that any man attending an annual men-only event where the hired hostesses had been told to wear black underwear, a black skimpy dress and high heels could be as shocked or "appalled" as they claimed to be – much less that they failed to "witness any of the kind of behaviour alleged".

At an event where charity auction prizes included a night at a strip club and plastic surgery with the tag line "add spice to your wife", this level of chauvinism is a tuxedo away from rape.

Hiding behind an ‘It’s all for a good cause" banner is nothing new, but these men took it to a whole new level.

Happily, the non-disclosure agreements the women were ‘forced’ to sign are worth less than the paper they were written on, not only because the women allegedly weren’t afforded the time to read its contents, but because no NDA can prevent disclosure of criminal events.

Keep looking over your shoulders, guys.

With Great Ormond Street handing back half a million pounds, senior figures forced to resign and with more and more institutions and individuals now unwilling to associate themselves with such misogyny, perhaps time, at last, really is up.

Emily Rogers is director, Rampart PR

Thumbnail image ©Spanish Coches via Flickr

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