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Anorak | Save the Children accused of putting business before women

Save the Children accused of putting business before women

by | 21st, February 2018

Justin Forsyth resigned his post as chief executive at Save The Children because he made, in his words, “unsuitable and thoughtless” comments to three younger women. The evidence is in a “barrage” of text messages the current deputy executive director at Unicef sent female staff in which he appraised their looks and clothes. Mr Forsyth was never subjected to a formal disciplinary hearing. Save the Children says it did examine Mr Forsyth in 2011 and 2015. And that was it. Back then whatever he did was deemed to be ok. Now it isn’t.

Forsyth is a forgettable looking chap with the looks of a minor public school’s cricket coach. “I made some personal mistakes during my time at Save the Children,” he states. “I recognise that on a few occasions I had unsuitable and thoughtless conversations with colleagues which I now know caused offence and hurt.”

Were they thoughtless? Or was he thinking, you know, with his manhood? It’s pretty hard to bang out a text without engaging any brain power. Unless it was instinctive and Forsyth was operating on the same level as a sponge reacting to the presence of water or a puppy on the vicar’s leg. Where does flirting slide over into sexual harassment? A YouGov survey tells us that over a quarter of 18 to 24 consider winking “always or usually” sexual harassment – the figure falls to 6% for over-55s. Two thirds of the same think the same of wolf-whistling – for over 55s it was 15%. Nottinghamshire police consider wolf-whistling a “hate crime”.

“When this was brought to my attention on two separate occasions,” Forsyth continues, “I apologised unreservedly to the three colleagues involved and my apologies were accepted and I thought the issue was closed many years ago.”

Well, it wasn’t closed. One woman tells the BBC: “The complaints of harassment were not treated with the appropriate degree of seriousness. It seems there was more interest in preventing the exposure of misconduct than in protecting its female employees from predatory behaviour.”

The PR is now in full cry. Following new that Brendan Cox was not best behaved when he worked at Save The Children, the charity tells everyone: “We apologise for any pain these matters have caused and sincerely hope that the complainants feel able to help us with the review in the coming weeks.”

We apologise for the reactions. But not for doing anything wrong. Indeed, we urge the alleged victims to trust us. Only we can get to the bottom of things. Adding: “This is so that we can better support our skilled and highly valued staff as they help change the lives of millions of children around the world every day.” Translation: we’re great. Sure some of your charitable donations will go on staff reviews, PR and guff. But keep giving!



Posted: 21st, February 2018 | In: Money, News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink