London charity rocked by sexism scandal

For 33 years the London charity event Presidents Club has gathered donations for children. But the fundraiser was apparently just a facade and has now turned into a scandal: journalists working for the Financial Times have revealed that guests - men only, from the world of high finance, entertainment and politics - regularly harass the hostesses hired for the event. What does this say about London's elite?

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

Gentlemen turn out to be cads

La Vanguardia is apalled by the rampant sexism among the British elite:

“As it turns out, the so-called gentlemen of the Presidents Club charity are cads who let their libidos run wild with suggestive gestures, groping and indecent exposure. How can such behaviour still be possible in London in 2018? That such an event could go undiscovered for 33 years is very worrying. ... It's inexplicable that many of the participants are so out of touch with today's world and believe themselves to be beyond good and evil when in other circumstances this type of behaviour would lead to summary dismissal.”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

MeToo message hasn't got through

Helsingin Sanomat is also nonplussed by the excesses at the fundraising gala:

“How can this be possible after several months of the topic being dealt with on a daily basis? This complete indifference at least proves that the elite believes it can operate according to different rules than for the rest of the world. If you close the doors and get rid of the phones, you can behave as badly as you like. ... Many were dismayed by the incident. If at an event with more than a hundred male participants no one sees the need to intervene against gross harassment, it shows that the MeToo message still hasn't got through to the money aristocracy.”

Financial Times (GB) /

More women needed at the top

The ill treatment women are subjected to is also a result of male-dominated power structures in the business world, the Financial Times comments:

“This degrading behaviour is part of a wider societal issue: power and its misuse. The case of Harvey Weinstein shows how entrenched power allows those at the top - still overwhelmingly male - to get away with mistreating those below them. The dinner may have lacked the monstrosities of the Weinstein case, but it is on the same spectrum. In the business realm, such an event would be hard to imagine if corporate leadership included as many women as men. Righting the present imbalance will help consign these displays to the past.”