Friday, January 26, 2018

The Entitlements of the Estimable Elite

Madison Marriage FT undercover video
Marriage describes the evening in a video recorded immediately after the event. Financial Times
"[The job requirements as  hostesses required] tall, thin and pretty [young women]."
"[Hiring indoctrination included the advice to wear] BLACK sexy shoes, black underwear, short tight black dresses [and a] thick black belt resembling a corset."
"[The women were informed the men might be] annoying. You just have to put up with the annoying men and if you can do that it's fine." 
"According to the accounts of multiple women working that night, groping and similar abuse was seen across many of the tables in the room."
"Outside the women's toilets a monitoring system was in place; women who spent too long were called out and led back to the ballroom." 
"[One unnamed ] society figure [grabbed a hostess] by the waist, pulled her in against his stomach and declared 'I want you to down that glass, rip off your knickers and dance on that table'."
Expose, Financial Times
"With the dinner properly underway, the hostess brief was simple: keep this mix of British and foreign businessmen, the odd lord, politicians, oligarchs, property tycoons, film producers, financiers and chief executives happy -- and fetch drinks when required."
"A number of men stood with the hostesses while waiting for smoked salmon starters to arrive. Others remained seated and yet insisted on holding the hands of their hostesses . . . a prelude to pulling the women into their laps."
"I was propositioned and groped and received some very lewd comments."
"I genuinely felt incredibly sad and upset by what I had seen, the fact that the upper echelons of our society are operating this way in 2018."
Madison Marriage, reporter, Financial Times
Financial Times
 Burlesque dancers were on the stage wearing "star-shaped stickers" over their nipples. A 70-year-old guest asked a 19-year-old hostess if "she was a prostitute". A scene of "braying men" fondling one hostesses' bottom, stomach and legs was described, while another guest "lunged at her to kiss her". This was The Presidents Club Charitable Trust, a yearly event ostensibly to raise funds for "worthy children's causes", that took place a week ago at the exclusive Dorchester Hotel in London.

Those in attendance represented the British elite from business, finance, fashion, entertainment and political establishments in the British capital, a "men only" event of 360 notables in attendance catered to by 130 hostesses hired for that purpose. Madison Marriage, a journalist with the Financial Times and another women who worked with her at the event applied for places as hostesses and were  hired. It was their experience, what they saw and heard and took part in that formed the basis for an expose published in the Times.

That publication resulted in quite an upheaval with the charity announcing it was dissolving, and planning to distribute the funds raised to needy causes; which is to say any causes that would be willing to overlook the foul odour associated with those funds. The event's chairman himself stepped down from his post as nonexecutive director of Britain's Department for Education. Strangely, the male attendees were anxious to distance themselves from the event and the outrage that followed those revelations.
The Dorchester stock photo 2013 flickr
A photograph showing the outside of The Dorchester hotel in London, where the event took place. This photograph was taken on a different night. Flickr/Spanish Coches

The evening began with the Master of Ceremonies welcoming the male attendees "to the most un-PC event of the year". And so it was, indeed. Men, according to the hostesses recounting their experience, repeatedly placed hands up the women's skirts, one even exposing himself to a hostess. Those hostesses who had the fortitude to carry on without enthusiasm were pushed to interact more robustly with the guests by "an enforcement team".

For their tolerant work ethic the hostesses, many students, actresses among them, dancers and models hoping to earn a little additional cash were paid about $211 for the evening's work under intolerable circumstances. An evening of fun and games with patrician elite members of polite society among whom mingled the 19 to 23-year-olds whose presence was hired to amuse these upstanding, prominent, wealthy leaders of British arts and letters, industry, salons, aristocrats and politicians.

The undersecretary of state for children and families, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, claimed he had departed from the event at an early evening hour, so of course he was witness to nothing awry, much less lending himself to the general ribald proceedings. According to the Presidents Club statement, organizers were "appalled for the allegations of bad behaviour asserted by the Financial Times reporters". So the reports of misbehaviour were merely 'asserted', but if they had taken place, the club's members were 'appalled'.

Needless to say none of the honourable gentlemen had any idea of what was transpiring, much less had a hand in the disgrace.

Presidents Club Dinner
Still frame from video inside Presidents Club Dinner: Business Insider

Labels: , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet