In June, McCann Health terminated its global chief creative officer Jeremy Perrott for alleged violation of the firm’s code of conduct.
Now Perrott has fired back with a $25-plus million wrongful termination lawsuit. In the suit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Virginia, Perrott charged the agency and parent Interpublic Group with defamation, tortious interference with contract, common law conspiracy and gross negligence.
He denied making statements to women that were attributed to him such as “nice rack” and “nice ass” and said that the defendants had failed to provide any evidence that he made such comments before dismissing him.
In the complaint, Perrott’s lawyers describe him as having been a “legend in advertising,” but that he soon became a “leper and an outcast” in the industry after the agency and IPG allegedly leaked word of Perrott’s dismissal shortly before this year's Festival of Creativity in Cannes, which he had been scheduled to attend.
Perrott’s suit states that IPG CEO Michael Roth “has been pre-occupied with diversity” since taking the helm of the company back in 2005. “In March 2018,” the suit adds, Roth “claimed that he had turned an 'all white, all male' company into one with majority female leadership. Roth is ultimately responsible for creating the toxic corporate policy at IPG that encouraged, facilitated and condoned the lynching and character assassination of McCann Health’s phenomenally successful Global CCO and his dismissal without any Due Process.”
While Perrott mentions Roth and others at McCann and IPG, just the two companies were named as defendants in the complaint.
Perrott also accuses McCann Worldgroup Chief Talent Officer Marjan M. Panah of essentially framing him to justify his termination. “Panah is a corporate shill,” per the suit. “She works to please IPG at the expense of McCann’s talent. Panah headed up the sham 'investigation' of [Perrott] alleged to have taken place on June 11, 2018. Panah solicited and suborned false witness, lied about the results of the fake 'investigation', fired Jeremy, falsely accused him of using 'inappropriate' language to harass someone, somewhere, sometime, and falsely accused Jeremy of creating a work environment where people felt unsafe and unprotected.”
Perrott also accuses Panah of acting “upon orders from Roth” and others at the companies “in furtherance of IPG’s toxic corporate policy of ritualistic sacrifice to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements – a corporate policy that spares no male at IPG, MWG or McCann Health and that promotes fear, distrust and loathing amongst executive talent. Panah acted to justify IPG’s predetermined agenda to appease #MeToo and #TimesUp by unceremoniously getting rid of” Perrott.
That's quite an indictment. Can't wait to hear how the companies respond in court. They've just asked the judge hearing the matter for an extension to respond until December 17.
In the mean time McCann issued this statement: "We stand by our actions to protect our employees and our earlier and truthful statements. We will defend the case vigorously.”