There’s more to the hugging problem at Ted Baker than what was originally reported.
The London-based fashion house — whose founder and chief executive, Ray Kelvin, has been accused by employees of sexual harassment including “forced hugging” — said on Friday that it has become aware of new “serious allegations” about Kelvin’s conduct.
Kelvin is taking a leave of absence from the 30-year-old company while the allegations are probed by an independent firm.
The eccentric fashion executive — who covers his face with various objects including hats, shoes and statuettes when photographed — was accused by hundreds of former and current employees of giving unwanted hugs and kisses, caressing their ears and even telling them to sit on his knees.
The deluge of complaints surfaced last week in an employee petition spearheaded by Organise, a UK-based workers advocacy group.
Since then, staffers have shared other stories about Kelvin’s temper, including him pushing a senior executive against a wall after learning that he was not invited to a wedding, according to The Guardian.
The board of directors handed him a formal warning after the incident, according to the report.
In a statement, Kelvin said, “I love this company and I care deeply for all my colleagues. Ted Baker means everything to me and I can’t bear to see it harmed in any way.”
By Lisa Fickenscher