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Is it time to stop shopping at Philip Green’s Topshop or Topman?

I guess I should stop shopping at Topman. Those allegations against Sir Philip Green are completely shocking! Daniel, by email

Um, are they? That’s sweet, Daniel. For the rest of us, learning that the businessman at the centre of allegations of sexual harassment and racism is none other than Sir Philip Green – the Penguin from Batman Returns made flesh – was only mildly less surprising than hearing about the toilet habits of bears. (Blah blah, Green denies all allegations, says he’s done nothing more than “banter” and he’s sorry for causing any offence and yadda yadda yadda, which is official Jewish legal language.)

Come with me, dear readers, as I take you back – back to the future! No, sorry, wrong direction: reverse DeLorean because we are going back to the past! Back to a year when I was a young, plucky reporter, and was packed off to Oxford Street to interview Green in his office, only to find him in full fury when I arrived.

“Get her out of here, she’s an antisemite, she works for the fucking Guardian!” Green shouted from behind his desk before I’d said a word. Now, in case it is not clear from how I write, literally the only person who has ever looked and sounded more Jewish than me is Janice from Friends, so Green’s claim that I am an antisemite was a bit of a surprise, but in retrospect it should not have been. I have an exciting – and timely! – revelation to make to my readers: as well as being Jewish, I am a witch.

Yes, I doubted this initially, too, mainly because I am very much a dog person, and there is not enough hair product in the world to deal with what flying on a broom would do to my Jewfro. But once it was confirmed that Green was the businessman at the centre of the allegations I knew my witchiness was undeniable, and that is because nearly every person who has ever been horrible to me has suffered terrible repercussions. There is Sir Phil, as we know. Then there was Harvey Weinstein, who threw me out of several parties in LA because someone once wrote something in the Guardian he didn’t like. And then I wrote something he really didn’t like – that his parties are boring – and he was so outraged that he wrote an op-ed in THIS PAPER in which he described going through the Guardian comments section to find disparaging remarks about me, which sounds like totally normal, sane and balanced behaviour. (He found only one; seriously, try harder, Harvey. You have time on your hands now.) All I need now is some comeuppance for the A-list actor who walked out of my interview with him “because I don’t talk to the work-experience kid” (I was 27) and the celebrity chef who literally spat in my face (“Who do you work for?” “The Guardian.” “I fucking hate the Guardian! Pah!” Handy hint: it wasn’t Delia), and vindication will be mine, all mine. And, given how strong I think we can all see my witch powers are, that day is clearly nigh. So live in fear, Nigella (legal notice: it was not Nigella).

Anyway, back to Green. What I find interesting about this saga is – after the many allegations that have come out this week – how few people (except you, Daniel) were surprised when the story broke. Indeed, the only surprise was at the prospect that Green might suffer repercussions. In that way, the public reaction was reminiscent of when the whole #MeToo movement erupted. Yes, many of those cases are very different from Green’s (yadda yadda yadda), but the point is, beforehand, rumours of Weinstein’s and so on’s behaviour were just kind of tacitly accepted because people didn’t think anything could change. #MeToo changed that: allegations of bullying and sexual abuse are now seen not as individual cases but reflections of a serious, systemic problem. It is therefore a public obligation to speak out and to support the people who take it on.

As for Sir Phil, then: yes, I think you should stop giving him your money. Whatever the allegations, whether he’s guilty or not, none of us should help enrich billionaires who slap their employees with NDAs and whack injunctions on the press. Also, let’s be honest, we all know he’s a schmuck. The British establishment may never be able to wrest his knighthood from his pudgy hands but your money deserves better than that. Anyway, Topshop and Topman are rubbish these days. Come at me, Phil. You know where to find me.

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