Commentary

Say It Ain't So, Joe

The rumors of sex harassment had been swirling almost from the moment The Martin Agency cryptically confirmed late last week that its long-time creative leader Joe Alexander was gone. The agency refused to say anything more at the time other than that Alexander no longer worked there.   

But earlier today, Ad Age reported that Alexander departed after an allegation of sex harassment. The agency finally elaborated, after days of stonewalling, in a statement to Ad Age attributed to spokesman Dean Jarrett: “There are instances when we're unable to provide details in deference to the request of individuals who have come forward to report actions of others that are inconsistent with our values and guidelines.” 

And that was it. Sort of a tacit admission that the rumors were true. Instead of a straight, stand-up acknowledgment that yeah, he’s gone after a sex harassment allegation. Like NBC acknowledged in the case of Matt Lauer, and CBS did with Charlie Rose, ad nauseum. Literally, it’s enough to make you nauseous. 

And an allegation, in Alexander’s case, that apparently has merit, or he’d still be there! 

Ad Age also printed a statement from Alexander that read in part: “Rather than a drawn-out, hurtful investigation, resigning was the proper thing to do to protect my family and all the people I've worked so closely together” with for more than two decades. Joe, the proper thing to do would have been not indulge in the behavior that led to your departure. 

“I will always love [The Martin Agency] and the people who make it so special. Please respect my privacy during this very, very sad time," added Alexander. 

Seriously, Joe? Sad time for who, you or your alleged victim? Want your privacy respected on a matter like this? Get in line. Behind Harvey Weinstein, Lauer, Rose and I don’t know -- two or three dozen other recent (alleged) sex harassers. Sorry, no room for privacy on this one. Unless of course the allegations are baseless. Are they? 

And what’s with IPG? The holding company that proudly wears its diversity stripes on its sleeve. Why not clear the air on this, as you have publicly in previous cases where transgressions have resulted in dismissals?

I don’t know -- maybe it is sad. It sure doesn’t add up. 

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