‘I don’t understand why nobody has had you killed’: ALISON BOSHOFF recalls a very unsettling conversation with tycoon Sir Philip Green
There is an unsettling combination of charm and threat in any conversation with Sir Philip Green. We have spoken at least a dozen times in recent years, and sometimes things become very heated.
In June last year, while I was working on an entirely innocuous piece about his daughter, Chloe — and how she spends her life going from one lavish holiday to another — I had a call from Sir Philip which was more rattling than usual.
It contained what felt like a death threat. It started thus: ‘You must be so bloody bored,’ he said. ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Why are you writing about Chloe again?’
Philip Green had called Alison Boshoff following a story penned about his daughter Chloe
I had not asked him to intervene in this feature. Why would I? He’s a retail billionaire with an empire to run, and all I wanted to know was the answer to the minor question of whether his daughter had given up her ‘job’ designing shoes and was officially unemployed. I had emailed his parent company, Arcadia, to ask — but got a call back from him.
Why didn’t I find something better to do? What business was it of ours what Chloe did? Why was I so stupid? Then he said: ‘I don’t understand why nobody has had you killed yet.’ He laughed.
Then he repeated it, saying: ‘You make so much trouble, you would think people would club together and get it done.’
Astonished, I thanked him for expressing the view. We talked and he eventually briefed me on what Chloe was doing with her life (nothing) and closed by calling me ‘sweetheart’, which he usually does.
At the time, though, I contemplated reporting the call to the police.
I’m no shrinking violet. I’ve had plenty of run-ins over the years with high-profile people I’ve annoyed. But this rang my alarm bells. It’s troubling language to use when speaking to anyone, but especially a woman.
A few months later, I spoke to his PR man and mentioned the threat. His reply? ‘Oh no, he really likes you.’
Alison Bischoff had been writing a piece on Chloe Green’s lavish life style and whether not she had given up on shoe design