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Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin stands aside over ‘unwanted hugs’

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Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin is taking a “temporary leave of absence” after being accused of giving unwanted hugs to staff.

In a statement, he said the “accusations of the past week have raised some very serious and upsetting issues”.

He added that it was “only right that the board should investigate fully”.

Dozens of current and former Ted Baker employees have accused the 62-year-old of implementing a regime of “forced hugs” and harassment.

More than 60 people reportedly helped launch an online petition detailing employees’ alleged experiences with Kelvin, calling for the company to end its “awkward hugging policy”.

The complainants claim he would give unwanted hugs, shoulder massages and kisses on the back of their ears at the firm’s London head office.

The petition, which is understood to be backed by almost 200 current or former employees, said the “inappropriate” forced hugging was “part of a culture that allows harassment to go unchallenged”.

In his statement, Kelvin said: “Ted Baker has been my life and soul for 30 years.

“I love this company and I care deeply for all my colleagues.

“It’s for that reason that I have decided to take a temporary leave of absence.

“Ted Baker means everything to me and I can’t bear to see it harmed in any way.”

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