Fayed accused of harassing teenager
Mohamed Fayed has been accused of grooming and sexually harassing a 17-year-old Harrods worker by persuading her to wear a swimming costume before asking her to sleep with him. The billionaire is the subject of an expose tonight by Dispatches, the Channel 4 programme.
MOHAMED FAYED has been accused of grooming and sexually harassing a 17-year-old Harrods employee by persuading her to wear a swimming costume before asking her to sleep with him, a Channel 4 documentary will claim tonight.
The billionaire is accused by Dispatches, the Channel 4 documentary programme, of targeting three female members of staff at Harrods.
An expose called Al-fayed: Behind Closed Doors, due to be aired tonight, will outline “allegations of sexual harassment against billionaire Mohammed Al Fayed”, programme makers say.
Dispatches claims to have interviewed three women who allege Mr Fayed groomed them and made inappropriate sexual advances during their time at Harrods, a decade apart.
Two of the women chose to remain anonymous but a third, Cheska Hillwood, 41, an art gallery manager and a trained actress, waived her anonymity to go public with her claims.
On one occasion, the tycoon is alleged to have asked Ms Hillwood, then 17, to change into a swimming costume before filming her and trying to kiss her. She alleges that Mr Fayed promised to find her work as an actress if she slept with him. She said she then dressed and fled.
Mr Fayed, 88, has slipped out of the public limelight in recent years, having sold Harrods for £1.5 billion in 2010. He had waged a campaign against the Royal family and specifically the Duke of Edinburgh, whom he blamed for the death of Dodi
Fayed, his only son, and Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris in 1997. A police investigation found no evidence to suggest the couple had been murdered.
Channel 4 said the allegations were being made public in the wake of a scandal over public figures accused of harassing women – and occasionally men. A Channel 4 spokesman said: “The film features the testimony of three women who now feel able to speak out about experiencing sexually predatory and threatening behaviour whilst working for the business magnate and former owner of Harrods, Mohammed Al Fayed. Despite not knowing one another, their accounts, from two different decades, reveal a number of striking similarities.” According to a transcript of the programme, Ms Hill-wood, 41, began working for Harrods in 1993. She claims that on one occasion Mr Fayed invited her to his flat in central London, claiming he could help her get acting work with his son, a film producer. Mr Fayed could not be reached for comment last night. Channel 4 said it had not had a response last night, having put the allegations to his lawyer last week. The spokesman said: “Dispatches has not received a response from Mohamed Al Fayed to the specific allegations made by the interviewees in this programme.”
Cheska Hill-wood, left, claims Mohamed Fayed, below, harassed her when she was a 17-year-old Harrods employee