Reaction came quick to news Kevin Roberts has been stood down as Chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi over his gender balance comments with one Mad Daily reader suggesting women are held back in advertising because they keep their legs closed.
News broke on Sunday that Roberts has been asked by Saatchi’s holding company, Publicis Groupe, to take a period of leave as it “further evaluates his standing”.
Roberts infuriated many with his comments to Business Insider. He’s quoted as saying the “fucking (gender) debate is all over” and many women are content never to reach leadership roles because they lack the “vertical ambition” of men.
Late Sunday night Jennifer Carrigan took time to email M+AD Daily:
Admen have plenty of ‘vertical’ ambition, that’s for sure. If only a glass ceiling was a hymen…. There will always be plenty of ambitious whores. And plenty of ambitious creative women who will never be discovered, just because they’re openly gay or openly a threat, or have closed legs.
Saatchi meantime as issued a statement emphasizing the agency’s commitment to gender diversity.
And Publicis Groupe Chairman & CEO, Maurice Lévy followed that with a statement internally to all employees reiterating the company’s no tolerance policy towards behaviour or commentary counter to the spirit of its motto ‘Viva la Difference!’
“It is for the gravity of these statements that Kevin Roberts has been asked to take a leave of absence from Publicis Groupe effective immediately. As a member of The Directoire, it will ultimately be the Publicis Groupe Supervisory Board’s duty to further evaluate his standing,” he said.
“Diversity & inclusion are business imperatives on which Publicis Groupe will not negotiate. While fostering a work environment that is inclusive of all talent is a collective responsibility, it is leadership’s job to nurture the career aspirations and goals of all our talent.”
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