How a U.K. Billionaire Stopped the Press from Reporting Sexual Harassment Allegations

The businessman reportedly spent over $640,000 in legal fees to keep his name out of the press.

MeToo UK
Philip Green has been accused of sexual harassment and racism. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

British billionaire businessman Philip Green was allegedly able to get a court order to prevent the press from writing about sexual harassment allegations made against him — but not for long.

A report about an accusation was originally published in the Daily Telegraph  on Wednesday, according to Time, but the site was barred by a court order from specifically naming Green.

The Top Shop owner’s identity was shared on Thursday, however, thanks to House of Lords member Lord Peter Hain, who invoked the longstanding rule of Parliamentary privilege. The rule says that lawmakers can avoid being prosecuted for whatever they say while in the chamber, making it both legal for Green to be named and for the media to print it.

Green denies the allegations of “unlawful sexual or racist behavior” made against him; but his initial efforts to contain the news have raised questions about the #MeToo movement being held back in Britain by laws like the one Green first used to his advantage.

Journalists in the U.K. do not have the right of a First Amendment protection of the free press that American reporters have, something Prime Minister Theresa May addressed this week. May said she would “act to reform the ‘unethical’ use of non-disclosure agreements,” according to Time.

The Telegraph reported that Green made at least five “substantial payments” to his alleged victims as part of non-disclosure agreements.

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