David Walliams defends himself after hosting controversial Presidents Club charity dinner

The FT reports young hostesses were harassed at the all-male event

David Walliams attends a BFI Southbank preview of "Ratburger", Sky 1's TV adaptation of his book published by HarperCollins, on September 3, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.

David Walliams has issued a statement amidst reports of sexual assault at a male-only charity dinner that he hosted last week.

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On Wednesday morning, an undercover sting by the Financial Times alleged that a number of young female hostesses at The Presidents Club dinner – who had reportedly been ordered to wear short black outfits with matching underwear and high heels – had been groped, harassed and propositioned by men during the event.

Walliams then came under fire for hosting the event, which has raised over £20 million for children’s charities such as Greater Ormond Street Hospital in the past 30 years.

“Last Thursday night I hosted the Presidents Club annual charity fundraiser,” he wrote on Twitter. “I agreed to host as it is one of the biggest charity fund raising events of the year. I was there in a strictly professional capacity and not as a guest.”

He then added that he had left immediately after his on-stage presentation, and that he had not seen any of the kind of behaviour that has been reported, but that he is “absolutely appalled” by the reports.

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In the wake of the allegations, a number of organisations have expressed concerns or cut ties with the event. Great Ormond Street Hospital has returned all funds donated by the dinner, and pledged that it will no longer accept gifts from the Presidents Club Charitable Trust.