Despair and anger at the Presidents Clubbers | Letters

Readers respond to the alleged groping and harassment of women at the Presidents Club charity auction

Elite men-only club shuts amid furore over groping scandal” (25 January). Rich, undoubtedly; but “elite”, definitely not. By using that word in your headline, you are pandering to the egos that drive the behaviours of many of those men who attended the Presidents Club. Those who behaved in the ways described are weak, needy, inadequate men. Those who saw the behaviours but said nothing to challenge them are weak and cowardly. None of them could qualify as elite. What a total contrast these rich, professionally powerful men are to the emotional strength and courage of all the women now speaking out.
Duncan Forbes
Crickhowell, Powys

• So the Presidents Club had read, seen and heard about the abusive treatment of women which led to #MeToo, yet still saw fit to go ahead with an “all-male” evening at the Dorchester (which, by the way, also saw fit to accept the booking). Some rich men chose to go and, whatever they did or didn’t do at the “event”, none of them alerted the police to the abusive treatment of women which took place.

There is much damage limitation, posturing and jockeying now going on, but frankly any man involved in any way in this tawdry enterprise needs to promptly and unequivocally acknowledge that he got it badly wrong.

Perhaps we’ll know if these men of influence finally get the message when they close down the lap-dancing clubs, strip clubs and the like that they, their banks or their companies own, invest in, partially control or otherwise bankroll.
Mick Gough
Stoke on Trent

• Hospitals have to rely on charity donations because the fat cats don’t pay their fair share of tax (‘Unacceptable’: The charities rejecting trust’s donations, 25 January). Are these men now going to renege on the promises they made at the dinner?

The owner of the Ivy, Richard Caring, pledged £400,000 to Evelina children’s hospital’s high-dependency space in its new intensive-care unit “to put his name on the unit”. Evelina said this will not be going ahead. Couldn’t he offer it direct or indeed honour the whole £650,000 pledged by the Presidents Club. Or just donate it to the NHS?
Ros Campbell

• Among the understandable outrage at this sleazy affair, I see no mention of the fact that the hostesses knowingly participated. They could have refused the job, refused to wear the provocative underwear and refused to wait on these dinosaurs. But the money is good and they must have been fully aware of what was likely to occur. Until we women refuse to undertake “hostessing”, it will still continue in clubs and parties throughout the land.
Jane Ghosh

• Grope women at a charity do and if the media find out the charities will give you your money back. Is that really the message charities should be giving out?
Andy Jenkinson
Farnborough, Hampshire

• The continued existence of gentlemen’s clubs in London (Shock, revulsion – but no surprise, G2, 25 January) is an anomaly. As a member of the National Liberal Club for over 50 years, I used to raise the issue of full female membership every decade or so, and was fobbed off with the usual excuse of inadequate plumbing, until in 1976 the club became the first in London to admit women as full members.

This open membership has had a considerable social, political and financial benefit, so much so that the club currently has a woman chair, the first of any London club. It is difficult to comprehend today how the exclusion of women was ever defended. Worried gentlemen in the Garrick and other similar male bastions have nothing to fear.
Michael Meadowcroft

• How you can put Philip Green and “luminaries” in the same sentence I don’t know.
Sue Stephenson
Barrow-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire

• Join the debate – email

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit


The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Is the Presidents Club scandal a new low in everyday sexism? | Letters
Letters: on Vanity Fair poses, gender-stereotyping in schools, men-only clubs and other symptoms of what’s wrong with society’s view of women


28, Jan, 2018 @6:06 PM

Article image
What future for Britain’s high streets? | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to news that the number of UK shops, pubs and restaurants lying empty has soared by more than 4,400 in the first six months of this year


11, Nov, 2018 @5:50 PM

Article image
Women were failed by Presidents Club trustees, says regulator
Critical report by Charity Commission finds protection of female staff was inadequate

Rob Davies

12, Jul, 2018 @7:36 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on the Presidents Club: we are all complicit | Editorial
Editorial: It is possible to end nights out for slimeballs and stop sexual harassment at work. But it relies on each of us helping to change the culture that lets them happen


24, Jan, 2018 @6:45 PM

Article image
Women’s Institute remains relevant to members of all ages | Letter
Letter: With 30,000 new members joining last year, the organisation is still very much alive and kicking, says WI chief executive Melissa Green

09, Mar, 2023 @5:48 PM

Article image
An offer of help to disgraced billionaires | Letter
Letter: Hugh Sorrill says a donation to the charity he runs could help to salve the conscience of the super-rich


16, Dec, 2021 @6:31 PM

Article image
After Black Friday, it’s Giving Tuesday | Letter
Letter: It’s a day to do little things that can make a big difference to others, says Ben Russell


25, Nov, 2018 @4:43 PM

Article image
Why charity shops don’t take magazines | Letters
Letters: We will only decline donations on publications that we know will not sell as recycling costs us money


23, Oct, 2016 @6:33 PM

Article image
The Tories are expecting charities to pick up the pieces of the cost of living crisis | Letters
Letters: There is a vital role for the voluntary sector, but it must be underpinned by a welfare state that covers life’s essentials, writes Andrew Forsey. Plus letters from Peter Curbishley and Mike Stein

30, Dec, 2022 @4:07 PM

Article image
London’s ‘contactless’ tube payments to raise money for deprived young people
Boris Johnson unveils scheme to deduct 1p each time supporters use card to pay for tube, bus or overground journeys

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

29, Oct, 2014 @10:38 AM