Beer boss ‘made female staff feel uncomfortable’: BrewDog chief is accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women as more than 15 former workers speak out
- Ex-staff claimed Mr Watt made women feel ‘powerless’ and ‘uncomfortable’
- Advice was reportedly given to female staff to dress down and avoid Mr Watt
- Former staff claim they saw Mr Watt kissing an intoxicated customer at a US bar
- Mr Watt denies all accusations, although will try to ‘improve management style’
The boss of craft beer maker BrewDog has been accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women and abuse of power in the workplace.
More than 15 ex-staff have spoken out against chief executive James Watt with some claiming he made female bartenders feel ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘powerless’.
They were even advised by colleagues on how to avoid unwelcome attention from Mr Watt, 38, according to an investigation by BBC Scotland’s Disclosure programme.
The Scottish company has more than 100 bars and 2,000 staff worldwide.
It is understood to be worth around £2billion.
James Watt, chief executive of craft beer maker BrewDog, has been accused of ‘making women feel uncomfortable’, according to an investigation by BBC Scotland’s Disclosure programme
Katelynn Ising, who worked at a BrewDog bar in Ohio, US, said female staff would dress down when they knew Mr Watt would be in their bars.
She said: ‘We would make a point to warn new girls… like, ‘Hey, just so you know, James Watt’s coming to town. Just kind of, like, leave after your shift, don’t really hang around [and] don’t always do your hair and make-up that day, like don’t catch his attention’.’
Other former staff claim Mr Watt was witnessed by staff kissing an intoxicated customer on a roof terrace at another US bar.
Mr Watt has said the allegations are false and denies behaving inappropriately.
James Watt (right) with co-founder Martin Dickie (left). Mr Watt denies all accusations that he acted inappropriately towards women
A lawyer for Mr Watt said that ‘the only party that Mr Watt could have been present with’ on the roof terrace ‘has confirmed…absolutely no sexual encounter took place.
She has also confirmed that far from being intoxicated, she drove herself home.’
Mr Watt’s lawyer added: ‘At no time has Mr Watt given unwelcome attention to any female bartender.’
BrewDog chairman Allan Leighton said Mr Watt had told him the BBC claims were inaccurate and based on misinformation.
He said: ‘James has committed to making improvements to his management style.’
Last year nearly 300 former and current BrewDog staff signed a letter accusing Mr Watt of presiding over a toxic culture of fear.
Mr Leighton said that since then BrewDog had ‘implemented a wide-ranging action plan to address the issues raised’.
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