A senior BLP partner has apologised for his attendance at an all-male charity event at which hostesses were harassed and fondled. But the firm has declined to disclose the extent of his involvement.

Graham Shear, Head of International Commercial Disputes, was one of seven committee members of the Presidents Club. Shear was seated on a table with a number of high profile attendees including the Club's co-chair David Meller and Lord Mendelsohn. The Labour peer has since been effectively sacked by Jeremy Corbyn for attending the event.  

Scandalous details of the evening were exposed by the Financial Times after undercover journalists witnessed guests sexually harassing, groping and propositioning female hostesses. (Un)funnyman David Walliams hosted a charity auction which included a night at the Windmill strip club in Soho, and plastic surgery which was advertised with the slogan “Add spice to your wife”.

A BLP spokesman told RollOnFriday that Shear was "extremely embarrassed and deeply regrets his attendance and any association with the dinner and apologises unreservedly". He added that the department head "recognises that such events are inconsistent" with the firm's "values and beliefs". However, the firm declined to disclose how many of the annual events Shear had attended. Or whether he had spotted or raised concerns about the inappropriate treatment of hostesses. Or how many (if any) BLP clients were invited to the events. 

"I was only on the host table and the steering committee for an unspecified number of years."

The Presidents Club annual report stated that BLP was the charity’s principal legal adviser. BLP's spokesman said that  was incorrect, but confirmed that the firm had “done occasional pieces of work for this charity on a pro bono basis, as we do for a number of other registered charities". At the gala, organisers rushed hostesses to sign a five page non-disclosure agreement. BLP told RollOnFriday that neither the firm or Shear had anything to do with the NDAs.
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Anonymous 02 February 18 08:32

I'm a male stripper. Sometimes the ladies for whom I perform cannot help but lunge for the second largest thing I display after my nose. I do it because I am paid for it. I do not enjoy it but know it comes with the job. I have another job and choose to do the stripping of my own free will and expect drunk people to either beat me up or grope me because of my choice. PC gone mad.

Anonymous 02 February 18 09:26

I find it interesting how Shear posts articles on his law firm website profile which explain how to "to minimise the impact of social media incidents".

Anonymous 02 February 18 10:29

Anon at 8.32. I'd be interested to know how many times you have striped for a roomful of women at the Dorchester where the purpose of the evening is s charity event and the ladies present are attending as representatives of FTSE 100 companies, government departments, public institutions and leading City firms? How often are their security guards there to ensure that you keep engaging with the women and how often are you asked to sign a 5 page NDA?

Anonymous 02 February 18 11:11

Anon at 8:32.
That awkward moment when you mix up hostesses with strippers. Strippers don't deserve to be sexually assaulted. Most stripping clubs have rules about touching the women, let alone flashing them or *beating them* and these are enforced. Strippers should feel safe in their place of work. And if strip clubs have rules on touching and flashing *within their establishment*, it is ridiculous you expect hostesses not to have any such protection. That isn't "PC gone mad". It is the law. Especially the beating part of it.

Anonymous 02 February 18 11:59

Look up the Lady Garden Gala lunch/dinner - one of MANY high end women only 'charitable' events that take place each year, with butlers in the buff (or similar) hired for entertainment. And you think none of these poor, defenceless butlers get groped and leered at by the sozzled attendees? Send in another wannabe FT reporter to investigate this scandal!

Anonymous 02 February 18 12:05

Re Anon @ 08:32 - What's a male stripper doing on Roll on Friday?! Hmmm... I bet you're really a partner at BLP.

Anonymous 02 February 18 14:29

Anon @08.32 and Anon @ 11.59, I can't help feeling that you are both missing the point. This is not, as your posts both seem to imply that you believe, a gender issue, let alone "PC gone made". The fact that males are also occasionally exploited in similar ways does not make it "all right". If harassment or exploitation is practised against men who are in a vulnerable position because of power imbalance or for any other reason, that should be investigated and reported as well. But just because certain men have not chosen to make an issue of it in the past does not shut the door to any victims of harassment who want to speak out!

Anonymous 02 February 18 19:16

The stripper's comment below is not analogous. These women were not paid to strip. It is totally different and the programme that came with the event warned all the men not to do anything like some of them then did.

Anonymous 05 February 18 15:02

wonder what anon @08:32 makes of the incident concerning the laydee with the disco tits walking along, minding her own business, that got groped at a festival and then beat the shi!t out of the fella that grabbed her. Probably PC gone mad, right, if we apply the "eyes wide open" rule you're talking about...... @_@

Hint: just cos you're flashing your bits does not mean people are allowed to touch you, even if you know there is a high chance that they will touch you, because it is so easy not to touch people. Look. I'm not touching anyone right now. Easy.