Advertising giant WPP and the Bank of England have both severed all ties with charity organisation The Presidents Club, after an investigation revealed shocking levels of groping and sexual harassment of hostesses taking place at its men-only charity dinner.
An investigation by the Financial Times revealed hostesses at the annual event, which is accompanied by an auction, are forced to dress in skimpy outfits, plied with alcohol and groped by guests, which included City grandees.
After the revelations were published yesterday, WPP said it will no longer sponsor a table at the dinner.
In a statement today it said:
WPP has traditionally sponsored a table at the Presidents Club dinner to support its fundraising for children’s charities. Neither the company nor our attendees were aware of the alleged incidents until informed of them by the Financial Times.
WPP takes these reports very seriously and, while we will continue to support relevant charities, in light of the allegations we are ending our association with the event.
Meanwhile, the Bank of England cancelled a prize it offered during the charity auction: tea with governor Mark Carney, the FT reported today, while Great Ormond Street, one of the beneficiaries of the dinner, will return donations from the organisation's charitable trust as a result of the "wholly unacceptable nature of the event".
However, a spokesman said:
The Bank of England did not approve any prize for auction on the occasion described nor would it have for that organisation under its guidelines for charitable giving.
And female MPs criticised the event, with Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson describing it as "simply stomach churning".
UPDATE: The Bank of England has now responded more fully to the scandal. Here's its response in full.
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