Ad Agency CEO Out After Claims of Rape and Talk of ‘Apes’

Gustavo Martinez
Courtesy Journal-isms

The chief executive of J. Walter Thompson, one of the biggest and oldest advertising agencies in the world, resigned Thursday after one of his executives accused him of making racist and sexist comments.

"The allegations that Gustavo Martinez often mocked women and minorities left many wondering if Mad Men's portrayal of leering, intolerant ad executives in the 1960s truly was an artifact of a bygone era or a lingering reality hidden under a veneer of diversity and inclusion," Patrick Coffee wrote Friday for


Coffee also wrote, "Many of the industry's diversity advocates, while disheartened by the allegations at such a high corporate level, are striking a positive tone and saying now is the time for advertising to prove how far it's come.

" 'This is a moment where people will look at us and wonder whether there is progress being made. This is the time to redouble our efforts,' said Cindy Augustine, global chief talent officer at FCB. 'There are lots of efforts being made, and I think that will continue; this is definitely not the time to take our foot off the gas. It reminds everyone, whether in the ad industry or society at large, that this is a systemic issue everywhere. We are not exempt. ' "


Like the news industry, the advertising world has grappled with a history of discrimination — not only among employees but also in deciding where to place advertising dollars.

Suzanne Vranica reported for the Wall Street Journal March 10 on the lawsuit filed in federal court in New York by Erin Johnson, JWT’s chief communications officer.


"The suit alleges a hostile work environment including claims by Ms. Johnson that Mr. Martinez grabbed her by the throat or the back of her neck on multiple occasions," Vranica wrote. "It also alleges that the CEO 'publicly asked questions about which female staff member he should rape.'

"The complaint claims that in conversation with colleagues Mr. Martinez referred to personnel at airports as 'black monkeys' and 'apes' because they 'don’t know how to use computers.' He told associates in the future he would seek help from customs agents who have blond hair and blue eyes.


"During a meeting with a reporter in February, the suit alleges, Mr. Martinez told the reporter that he 'disliked living in Westchester County because there are too many Jews.' Ms. Johnson says she attended the meeting. The suit doesn’t name the reporter who was present. . . ."

According to the 2013 announcement naming Martinez CEO, "Martinez is a native of Argentina, but grew up primarily in Spain. Among the countries in which he has lived and worked are the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Portugal and Italy. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Universidad de Barcelona, a PDG from IESE (Universidad de Navarra), and has taught Marketing and Economics in Spain’s School of Economics. He speaks Spanish, English, Italian and Portuguese fluently. . . "


Coffee wrote, "Martinez has not publicly admitted any wrongdoing, nor has JWT or its parent company WPP discussed which, if any, of Johnson's allegations were found to be true. But a week after he denied the accusations and WPP announced that its internal investigation found no evidence of discrimination, the holding company announced Martinez was resigning 'by mutual agreement' and would immediately be replaced by chief client officer Tamara Ingram. . . ."

J. Walter Thompson Worldwide describes itself as "the world’s best-known marketing communications brand that has been inventing pioneering ideas for the past 150 years. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals." Among JWT's clients are Macy’s, Ford, Kimberly-Clark and HSBC.


"Kat Gordon, an outspoken advocate for gender balance and diversity in the ad industry, said bad behavior can never be eliminated from the agency world, but she said the JWT case highlights how vital it is that agencies are mindful of spotting and quashing intolerance and sexism," Coffee wrote.

In 2011, after much criticism, the American Association of Advertising Agencies adopted a non-discrimination media vendor policy and complaint review process for advertising on all media.


"This historic achievement will directly combat the invidious ‘No Urban' and ‘No Spanish Dictates' that cost minority broadcasters millions of dollars annually," the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council, as it was then known, said at the time.

In 2007, Advertising Age published an essay by Tiffany R. Warren headlined, "Why Minority Employees Really Leave."


"People of color started out in agencies as the 'the first' or 'the only' and have now graduated to 'the few' and 'the several,' " Warren wrote.

"I've had numerous conversations with other professionals of color who say, 'Why should I have to compromise my individuality or what makes me special just to get along with my team?' Due to the profound isolation they may feel, people of color have had to learn to exist in two worlds. One world is where they can keep it 'real' and be 100% of who they are and the other inflexible and homogeneous world requires them to dilute or dumb down what makes them unique.


"In order to be successful, they've had to not only be culturally flexible but twice as good as their white counterparts. They leave because this daily burden becomes too much to bear and often overshadows their work and lowers their morale. . . ."

Canoe Capsizes as Reporters Cover Flood on Day Off

In Monroe, La., "Three KNOE reporters became part of a story about local floods when the canoe were floating in capsized in knee high water," Kevin Eck reported Friday for TVSpy.


"The CBS affiliate’s anchor Nicole Cross, producer Danielle Beckford and reporter Aaron Cantrell were floating around a flooded Monroe, La. mobile home park, shooting video on their iPhones, when their canoe tipped over.

'Our boat was just so small and rickety, something happened,' Cross told TVNewsCheck's Paul Greeley. 'I don’t know if one repositioned or was it me waving at residents, something made us uneven and before we knew it we were in the water, and I went all the way in, hair, everything, and we all were trying to hold the iPhones up.'


"The trio said the dunking gave them a glimpse into what residents are dealing with."

Greeley also wrote, "Cross says neither she nor Danielle Beckford, the producer of Good Morning ArkLaMiss, were supposed to be working that day.


"Both were there in the neighborhood to witness first-hand what was going on in their community and to supplement the footage that Aaron Cantrell, KNOE’s general assignment reporter, was collecting.

"All three were shooting b-roll and standups (or sit downs) with their iPhones. All of the video in the story was shot via their iPhones.


“ 'We had the wherewithal to know not to bring the station camera,' said Cross. . . ."

Joy Reid Said to Be in Talks for Harris-Perry’s Slot

"Mediaite has learned that Joy Reid may soon be taking over the weekend slot left open after Melissa Harris-Perry and MSNBC parted ways in an acrimonious split," Sam Reisman reported Friday for Mediaite.


"Harris-Perry hosted an eponymous Saturday show from Feb. 2012 until last month, when she effectively walked off her show expressing frustration that the program had been pre-empted for election coverage.

" 'I will not be used as a tool for their purposes,' Harris-Perry wrote of MSNBC in an email to her staff that went public. 'I am not a token, mammy, or little brown bobble head. I am not owned by [network executives] or MSNBC. The network subsequently severed ties with her.


"Harris-Perry later told the hosts of The View that the decision to pre-empt her show had racial implications — if not directed at her necessarily, then at the sort of guests her show would attract. . . . Obviously filling Perry’s spot with another woman of color would blunt some of the criticism that has been directed at the network as a result of Perry’s departure. . . ."

Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for MSNBC, told Journal-isms by email that "we're just not giving any comment. . ."


PBS Didn’t Recognize White Power Tattoos

"In a Tuesday night special about Republican Donald Trump invigorating first-time voters, PBS NewsHour profiled a woman volunteering for the campaign who had prominently visible tattoos of widely recognized white power symbols," Katherine Krueger reported Wednesday for Talking Points Memo.


"In the segment, which was first flagged by Gawker, PBS profiles Grace Tilly, who is shown making calls at a Trump campaign phone bank in North Carolina.

“ 'This is my first time voting,' Tilly tells the camera. 'Being 33, that’s kind of crazy, but it says a lot.'


"While Tilly makes a call, her tattoo of a symbol that Gawker identified as a Celtic Cross is easily visible on her right hand.

"According to the Anti-Defamation League, the Celtic Cross is used by neo-Nazis, members of the Ku Klux Klan, and 'virtually every other type of white supremacist.'


"The symbol is also used in the logo for Stormfront, an online hub for white supremacists.

"Gawker also identified the tattoo on Tilly’s other hand as the number 88 which, according to the ADL, is white supremacist shorthand for 'Heil Hitler.' . . .”


"NewsHour" producers posted an editor's note Tuesday. "In our report Tuesday night on a North Carolina family that’s supporting Donald Trump, we were continuing a long NewsHour tradition of talking directly to voters," it began.

"We want to hear from them, in their own voices, speaking about what motivates their political preferences.


"Regrettably, none of us at the NewsHour recognized the questions that could arise from Grace Tilly’s tattoos, and we didn’t raise them with her until after the report aired. At that point, our producer contacted Ms. Tilly and she insisted the tattoos are religious in nature and have nothing to do with a neo-Nazi theme or white supremacy.

"We referenced her comments in an editor’s note, posted on our website.

"Many of our online commenters have since let us know they reject that explanation. We’re now posting this note as a follow up.


"We at the NewsHour remain committed to being as transparent as possible in covering this election."

PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler wrote Thursday, " I thought the [Washington] Post’s Erik Wemple put it best: 'To the point about the absence of reportorial narration in the story: That’s true, but the statements of the Tillys in the story are clearly responding to questions from PBS. Why not just include a response to the question: "What’s up with your tattoos?" ’ "


Charges Dropped Against CBS Reporter Covering Trump Rally

"The Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police released a statement Thursday saying they have dropped all charges against CBS News journalist Sopan Deb, who was arrested last Friday while covering a Donald Trump event," CBS News reported.


"'While this incident was very dynamic and troopers and officers were forced to make split-second decisions in the interest of public safety of demonstrators and police officers, we have collectively decided to drop the administrative charges in this case,' said the statement sent to CBS News. 'This decision was made after a methodical review of the physical evidence including video and interviewing both troopers and police officers involved in the incident.'

"Deb has been covering Trump's campaign for CBS News since last summer.

"Trump canceled a campaign rally over security concerns last Friday when thousands of protesters gathered outside an arena at the University of Illinois, then flooded the venue where he was scheduled to speak. . . ."


N.Y. Times Columnist Says His Circle Is Too Narrow

"Trump voters are a coalition of the dispossessed," David Brooks wrote Friday in his New York Times op-ed column. "They have suffered lost jobs, lost wages, lost dreams. The American system is not working for them, so naturally they are looking for something else.


"Moreover, many in the media, especially me, did not understand how they would express their alienation. We expected Trump to fizzle because we were not socially intermingled with his supporters and did not listen carefully enough. For me, it’s a lesson that I have to change the way I do my job if I’m going to report accurately on this country."

Brooks, considered a conservative, repeated those thoughts Friday on NPR's "All Things Considered," adding, "I've got to spend a lot more time with different kinds of people." E.J. Dionne, a Washington Post columnist and Brooks' progressive counterpart, added, "I've always said that the biggest sort of bias in the media is more a class bias than it is an ideological bias."


In the National Review, Kevin D. Williamson argued, "The white middle class may like the idea of Trump as a giant pulsing humanoid middle finger held up in the face of the Cathedral, they may sing hymns to Trump the destroyer and whisper darkly about 'globalists' and — odious, stupid term — 'the Establishment,' but nobody did this to them. They failed themselves. . . ."

Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post: What Corey Lewandowski says about what a potential Trump presidency would look like


Ed Diokno, AsAmNews: Bernie Sanders Makes Inroads with AAPI Voters

Editorial, La Opinion: La Opinion Warns 'Against Trump'

Editorial, St. Louis American: White Democrats need black voters to win

Bill Fletcher Jr., Washington Informer: The Mystery of Black Trump Supporters

Eric Hananoki, Media Matters for America: Trump's White Nationalist Backers Attack Merrick Garland For Being Jewish


Patrick Healy, New York Times: As Hillary Clinton Sweeps States, One Group Resists: White Men

Janine Jackson, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting: When Your Media Are ‘Disappointed’ by Opposition to Bigotry


Mark Joyella, TVNewser: Ratings and the Rise of Trump: ‘We’ve Cheapened the Coverage Tremendously’

Dana Liebelson and Julia Craven, Huffington Post: Violence and Arrests At Trump Rallies Are Way More Common Than You May Think


Askia Muhammad, Washington Informer: Presidential Politics Get Physical

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post: The GOP’s stop-Trump ‘movement’ is a pathetic joke


Steve Russell, Indian Country Today Media Network: Trump's Hostile Takeover of Republican Party: Bad News for Indians

Steve Russell, Indian Country Today Media Network: What If Trump Wins? White House Becomes House of Horrors


Jack Shafer, Politico Magazine: The Times vs. Sandersistas

Stuart Stevens, Daily Beast: There Aren’t Enough White Voters for GOP Win

Erik Wemple, Washington Post: PBS issues second editor’s note on Trump-supporter’s white-supremacist tattoos


John Ziegler, Mediaite: How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination

Obama Defends Picking Only White Guy on List

In an interview with NPR's Nina Totenberg that aired Friday, President Obama defended his choice of Merrick Garland as his U.S. Supreme Court nominee. "Many progressives note that 4 out of 5 of the judges on Obama's Supreme Court shortlist were minorities or women, or both," (audio) Totenberg said. "Yet, he picked the only white male, a centrist liberal, not someone who would, in the view of some progressives, shake up the debate on the Supreme Court."


Obama replied, "So my record of appointing a judiciary that reflects the country is unmatched. When it comes to the Supreme Court, I've appointed two women, one Hispanic. And in each case, the good news is, is that I appointed the person who I absolutely thought was the best person for the job. In this case, Merrick Garland is the best person for the job."

Louis Chan, AsAmNews: Asian American Groups React to Supreme Court nomination

Lauren French, Politico: Black lawmakers irked by Obama's Supreme Court choice

Dante Ramos, Boston Globe: The fantasy world of Merrick Garland’s liberal critics


Mary Sanchez, Kansas City Star: Obama will get nowhere with his Supreme Court nomination, and that’s embarrassing

Perry Stein, Washington Post: Merrick Garland and D.C. politics: His role in voting rights and Marion Barry’s imprisonment


Short Takes

"Kim Godwin has been named executive director for development and diversity at CBS News," A.J. Katz reportedWednesday for TVNewser. "Godwin will continue as Senior Broadcast Producer of the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley while taking on her new duties at the Eye. . . ."


"Akili Franklin has been named news director at New Orleans NBC affiliate WDSU," Kevin Eck reported Thursday for TVSpy. "Franklin, who replaces Jonathan Shelley, will start her new role on Monday. She came to the Hearst-owned station in January as assistant news director after working at WVTM in Birmingham, Ala. . . .

Michigan television stations helped raise $1.1 million for long-term care programs for children affected by lead poisoning, Armstrong Williams, whose Howard Stirk Holdings owns Flint, Mich., station WEYI-TV, announcedThursday. More than 300 attended a town hall (video) on the water crisis, he said. Williams said he was planning a second town hall. Darnell Earley tells his side.


The appointment of Paul Haven as the Associated Press’ news director for Latin America and the Caribbean is "part of a transformation to make the cooperative fully cross-format, with multimedia journalists and integrated editing desks that emphasize video and social media, along with a streamlined management structure to meet customer needs,” according to the AP. Haven answered questions from Teresa Mioli of the Journalism in the Americas Blog of the Knight Center for Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

"Weighing free speech against privacy, a Florida jury has decided to uphold the sanctity of the latter by turning in a $115 million verdict against Gawker over its 2012 posting of a Hulk Hogan sex tape," Eriq Gardner reported Friday for the Hollywood Reporter. Last July, the National Enquirer and — in a joint investigation — said they had "learned that sordid pillow talk caught on an unauthorized sex tape includes a revolting conversation in which the pro wrestling icon unleashed a filthy bigoted attack, littered with the N-word and other disgusting racial insults. . . ."


"On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order staying an FCC ruling that low-power Azteca America affiliate WDYB-CD Daytona Beach, Fla. . . . was ineligible to participate in the FCC’s upcoming spectrum incentive auction scheduled to begin on May 29," Mark K. Miller reported for TVNewsCheck. "In effect, the court’s decision allows WDYB to participate provisionally in the auction, while the court decides the merits of an appeal by the station’s owner, Latina Broadcasters of Daytona Beach, which argues that the FCC’s decision to keep WDYB out was unlawful. . . ."

"The Undefeated still hasn’t launched, but it is slowly building its roster with star-studded talent," Chris O'Shea reported Friday for FishbowlNY. "The latest addition is Marc Spears, who will serve as senior NBA writer. Spears comes to ESPN’s forthcoming site from Yahoo, where he served as an NBA writer since 2009. He previously worked for The Boston Globe and The Denver Post. . . ." Spears chairs the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists. Among other recent hires is copy editor Karin D. Berry, formerly with the Philadelphia Daily News.


Rihanna is Vogue’s latest cover star," Chris O'Shea wrote Thursdayfor FishbowlNY. "The 28-year-old artist is shown walking on water, which seems about right. In accompanying interview, Rihanna addressed those 'Beyoncé vs Rihanna' rumors and said what most smart people think — they’re bullsh*t …"

Ta-Nehisi Coates took on the controversial film biography of singer Nina SimoneThursday in his blog for the Atlantic. "We have a production team that is almost entirely white. We have a director willing to continue in the unfortunate tradition of 'darkening up' black actors. We have a distributor who is manifestly ignorant of the subject of his own film. And we have the twin phantoms of America racism and sexism, which haunted Nina Simone in life, chasing her down in death. . . ."


"For 23 years Godfrey Mwampembwa has been a prominent and quick-witted observer of the political scene in East Africa," Kerry Paterson and Murithi Mutiga reported Thursday for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "But all that changed last month when the cartoonist, known as Gado, was told his contract at Kenya's biggest newspapers, the Nation, would not be renewed. Gado, who is one of Africa's most celebrated cartoonists, said no reason was given for the termination of his contract — the Nation management said in an interview with Africa Uncensored it was a normal contractual parting of ways — but the cartoonist told CPJ he firmly suspects the paper was under pressure from government officials …"

"Honduran authorities should drop all criminal charges against journalist David Romero Ellner," the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday. "A court in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa on Monday sentenced Romero, who is free pending appeal, to 10 years in prison on charges he defamed a former prosecutor. CPJ called on authorities not to challenge his appeal and to cease pursuing criminal charges against all journalists for defamation. . . ."


"A Japanese journalist believed to have been captured by militants in Syria last year appeared in a video posted online on Thursday," Jonathan Soble reported Thursdayfor the New York Times. "He delivered an emotional message to his family but revealed little about his captors’ demands or intentions. 'I want to hug you, I want to talk with you, but I can’t anymore,' the journalist, Junpei Yasuda, says in the video. It was the first direct public evidence of his fate since he disappeared in the summer after telling associates that he was headed to Syria to cover the civil war there. . . ."

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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