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Ted Baker fashion house CEO accused of 'forced hugging,' asking female staffers to sit on his knee or let him massage their ears


Ted Baker founder and CEO Ray Kelvin, who oddly often hides his face in photos, has been accused of harassment in a petition. (Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images for Ted Baker London)

The alleged actions of this luxury clothing line’s CEO are far from in fashion.

Ray Kelvin, who founded British brand Ted Baker, has been accused by staffers of harassment including gross acts like “forced hugging” and asking “young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears.”

Nearly 3,000 people had signed a petition by Monday afternoon addressed to the company’s board of directors calling for them to put an end to “forced hugging,” which is “part of a culture that leaves harassment unchallenged,” it charges.

The petition is posted to Organise, a UK platform that encourages workers to share their problems to help transform their work place.

“The general feeling inside Ted Baker is that there's no official way to address the issue of harassment,” the petition reads. “That's why we (as staff) are running this campaign. There are a lot of really positive things about working at Ted Baker but they’re often overshadowed by the ‘hugging’ and inappropriate touching and comments.

“I’ve seen the CEO ask young female members of staff to sit on his knee, cuddle him, or let him massage their ears. I went to HR with a complaint and was told ‘that’s just what Ray’s like.’ The owner regularly makes sexual innuendos at staff, he stroke(s) people’s necks, he took off his shirt on one occasion and talked about his sex life.”

The petition also claims that going through the human resources department at Ted Baker “is hopelessly ineffective.”

The company told the UK’s Press Association that, “It is critically important to us that every member of our staff feels valued and respected at work. Ray greets many people he meets with a hug, be it a shareholder, investor, supplier, partner, customer or colleague.”

Ted Baker is launching an independent investigation into the allegations, according to Organise.

Kelvin, 62, founded Ted Baker in 1988. The high-end brand is currently hawking items like a $679 wide collar white wool wrap coat for women, and $250 leather boots for men.

The allegedly freaky fashion house founder often uses items, from shoes to purses to microphones, to cover up his face in photos.