Ad industry needs its Harvey Weinstein Second, former executive says

Posted by on November 3, 2017

The advertising industry needs its Harvey Weinstein minute.

That is the argument put forth by Cindy Gallop, a consultant and former marketing executive that advocates on issues such as gender equality. Last month, in the wake of the recent revelations about several accusations of sexual assault contrary to the Hollywood producer, Ms. Gallop put out a public On Facebook asking men and women in advertisements to email her at cindy@ifwerantheworld.com to tell their tales, and to name names. Since then she has received over 150 e-mails.

“I always knew it was bad. I’d no idea it was this bad,” Ms. Gallop said in an interview. “I’m appalled by what I am finding in my inbox{}”

The messages shock her since they point to how prevalent the problem is — encircling agencies big and small, across holding companies — such as stories about guys who considered friends and who have publicly proclaimed their support for gender equality and diversity in the industry.

“I am horrified by the level of terror in both men and women when it comes to the concept of speaking out publicly,” she said. “I am hearing again and again, ‘I will never work again,’ ‘I have a family,’ ‘I can not do this.’ And that is because the guys that are harassing are the gatekeepers — to jobs, to promotions, to pay increases, to awards, to aspirations, to livelihood trajectories.”

Ms. Gallop would like to connect people with colleagues, and is encouraging them to look at talking on the album and naming names — imagining that anonymous tales have circulated in the business for years and haven’t brought about change. She plans to talk about this at a keynote in New York on Friday in the , which focuses on female leadership in the business.

Last year, the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) printed a Saying that over half of women in advertisements had experienced sexual harassment — defined as unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.

Of the numerous e-mails Ms. Gallop has obtained in almost 3 months since her call went out, only one has come from Canada, ” she said. “I wish to hear Canadian stories also.”

Ms. Gallop says she’s heard about human resources departments failing to act when workers report poor conduct, and about settlements which are conditional on their recipients registering non-disclosure agreements to stop them talking about the incident. She points to the case of Zelda Perkins, who broke a 1998 NDA to talk about the alleged sexual harassment she experienced while working as Mr. Weinstein’s helper.

She also points to the case of Susan Fowler, a 26-year-old Uber worker whose blog post detailing a toxic work environment in the company resulted in the shooting of senior executives and the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick. In an With the New York Times, Ms. Fowler spoke of her fear of being characterized by the incident for the rest of her life. She finally concluded, “if what people know you for is bringing light to a problem about poor behaviour, about bad things going on and legislation not being followed and individuals being treated {}, why would not I want that? That is a badge of honor,” she told the Times.

Last, Ms. Gallop points to director Quentin Tarantino, who The Times that he’d heard stories about Mr. Weinstein for decades, and regretted doing nothing.

“I’m getting guys writing to me who say, ‘I know I must have done more,'” she said. “Now is the time to create that {}” She added that women are also one of the bystanders — and that men have faced harassment. She would like to shed light on these stories also.

Leaders at advertising agencies who wish to make a difference should stand up and convey their willingness to employ whistle-blowers, Ms. Gallop said, to assuage fears that individuals will be unemployable if they speak openly.

“The recurring theme is, ‘I left the market,'” she said. “That is why I say this isn’t a human rights story, this isn’t a doing-the-right-thing story. This is a business story. Our business has hemorrhaged enormous amounts of skills, talent, and imagination due to this issue.”

srobertson@globeandmail.com

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

Posted in: Market Place

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