A female creative director who received death threats over the recent JWT sex discrimination case has said her experience could mean women – who are already underrepresented in the industry – could be discouraged from joining it at all.
Wunderman Thompson global creative director Jo Wallace was targeted by the tabloids after a London tribunal ruled two male former colleagues of hers (at Wunderman Thompson predecessor J Walter Thompson) were made redundant unfairly “because of their sex”.
Adland anger has been directed at MailOnline in particular, which published personal photographs and information about Wallace, despite her having no role in the redundancy process.
After two ad men win a sex discrimination case against a top London agency, @cathynewman speaks exclusively to the female director who vowed to "obliterate" the firm's reputation as a bastion of white male privilege.— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) July 26, 2021
She says she stands by her comments.https://t.co/osoXkELN8m
Wallace told Channel 4’s Cathy Newman: “What does this tell women already underrepresented in this industry? Why would [they] want to go into this industry when you see myself being treated like this?
"It’s had a massive impact on my life. I haven’t slept for several days, I’ve had death threats. I’ve been plastered all over the media in bikinis - I mean why?
“I had nothing to do with this case. I had nothing to do with the decision to make them redundant. [Pictures of] me wearing a bikini is clearly an attempt to take me down and embarrass me in public, so it’s incredibly distressing.”
More than 60 complaints have been made to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about MailOnline’s coverage.
In an interview last week, one of the subjects of the tribunal, Chas Bayfield, told MailOnline: “There is a part of me that feels guilty that these laws that were put in place to protect minorities in the workplace as they should be, have protected a couple of middle-aged, straight, British men. But it is also right the judge found in our favour because it wasn't right.
“I definitely agreed that there had to be a way to address the diversity issues, but I don't think it was gone about the right way.
“I remember feeling like I just had a target on my back. I remember thinking, if I was a black 24-year-old woman I'd be fine. If I had been gay, even better.”
In response to Bayfield’s comments, Wallace told Newman: “I feel sorry for him that he felt he had a target on his back and I can massively relate to that right now, given all the coverage about myself.
“In terms of being better off had he been a black young woman and a gay one at that, we just return to the statistics, because they show that if he had in fact been that, he probably would have never even been given an opportunity to begin his career.”
Wallace also criticised the MailOnline coverage in a series of tweets, describing it as “an entire article to what can only be described as a hatchet job on a woman with no involvement”.
She also asked: “Why is my partner (wife) mentioned and also pictured other than to project more sexist, homophobic, racist undertones?”
MailOnline has not responded to requests for comment from Campaign.
(This article first appeared on CampaignLive.co.uk)