An anonymous group of advertising executives has issued a declaration that vows to hold abusive men “accountable” for sexual harassment in the ad industry.
“We will have a zero tolerance approach,” the group says in its declaration, called “Battlecry”, claiming that its members know the names of some of the abusive men and, if their behaviour continues, they will “escalate to the police”.
“From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut,” the group says.
“While we may not be able to hold you accountable for your actions of the past. We can hold you accountable for your actions today and tomorrow. Think of this as your point of reckoning.”
The group wrote “Battlecry” after Zoe Scaman, founder of Bodacious, published an article, entitled “Mad Men. Furious Women”, on Substack on 4 July, in which she described how many women in advertising have been victims of sexual harassment – as well as other abusive behaviour – but the industry has failed to do enough to stamp it out and confront the men involved.
Scaman helped to arrange the publication of “Battlecry”, which has been “written for and by all those let down by the industry”, the authors say.
Tackling sexual harassment in the workplace has become a major issue across the business world since the Me Too movement accelerated around 2017 and several high-profile leaders and personalities were prosecuted for abuse.
However, many campaigners, experts and industry organisations have warned that serious problems persist and abuse is likely to increase as companies return to offices after the pandemic.
Here is the “Battlecry” declaration:
This is the moment you never wanted to come.
The line in the sand you never thought anyone would draw.
The chorus of people rising, one by one
Each saying, ‘No more’.
No more will we let you get away with your behaviour.
No more will we bury the stories and suffer in silence.
No more will we let you hide behind your wives and your daughters.
No more will we accept your online virtue signalling as a sign you’ve changed.
No more will we let you be heralded as CEOs, founders, ECDs and leaders of this industry.
Moving forward your reputations will be forever scarred.
As we are.
If you are worried your name has been shared—it has.
If you are worried people are talking about you—they are.
And a lot of us have receipts.
Your NDAs may protect you for now.
And the law may be on your side.
But what is not, is us.
The people you have hurt. Degraded. Fired. Assaulted. Raped.
You may not believe that happens here.
But it does.
All. The. Time.
You and the people put in place to protect you have just made those stories disappear.
You have all persuaded yourselves that it’s ‘not that bad’.
But who gets to decide what is good and bad?
Who gets to decide what is right and wrong?
Who gets to play judge and jury?
It was you.
But now it’s us.
We have recognised that management teams and HR departments protect businesses.
So, from now on, we will protect ourselves.
We will have a zero tolerance approach.
We won’t escalate internally.
We’ll escalate to the police.
We won’t sign your silencing documents.
We’ll shout your names from the rooftops.
We won’t cower under your threats of reprisal.
We’ll stand tall with an army at our backs.
We won’t take your money to stay quiet.
From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut.
While we may not be able to hold you accountable for your actions of the past
We can hold you accountable for your actions today and tomorrow.
Think of this as your point of reckoning.
A moment in time where you have a choice to make.
To hold yourself and your behaviour accountable.
To learn and grow and change.
Or to keep doing what you are doing
And to push against the turning of the tide.
But trust us when we say, if you do, we will pull you under.
Because now you won’t be able to squash one person and their experience
You’ll have to take on us all.
You ignored Times Up and Me Too, narrowly, and laughed about it in bars (yes, we know).
But you should be more scared of this.
Now you won’t even get away with so much as a stray wink.
Good luck out there.
Accountability is a bitch.
And now all eyes are on you.
"Written for and by all those let down by the industry"
(This article first appeared on CampaignLive.co.uk)