Is IPG's Diversity Policy 'Toxic'?

You’ve probably heard by now about the $25 million defamation and wrongful termination lawsuit that former McCann Health Chief Creative Officer Jeremy Perrott filed against his former employer and agency parent IPG.

Perrott was dismissed in June for alleged violations of the company’s code of conduct, including making remarks to women in the workplace like “nice rack” and “nice ass.” If he did make such remarks — he strongly denies doing so in the lawsuit — they would clearly constitute a form of sexual harassment.

But the case is much more than a he said-no I didn’t exchange of accusations and recriminations. Perrott and his lawyers are trying to make a broader statement — indictment really — of the #metoo and #timesup movements, where anonymity enables witch hunts.



But at times, Perrott comes across in the suit as an embittered somewhat paranoid conspiracy theorist. At least it seems that way, given the words his lawyers have crafted to make his case. Take this overly strident turn of phrase for instance: 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.”

Ritualistic sacrifice? Spares no male? Really?

He condemns what he calls IPG’s “predetermined agenda to appease #MeToo and #TimesUp by unceremoniously getting rid of” Perrott.

I don’t work at the place, but the only predetermined agenda I see is to purge it of harassment and intolerance and the holding company has acted swiftly to address such issues when they’ve popped in the past.

Perrott’s attack on IPG CEO Michael Roth isn’t the most rational.

Roth, his suit states, “has been preoccupied 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.

That infusion of female leadership appears to have done wonders for the company, which now seems to be running smoothly on all cylinders. (Even despite this week’s Army decision.) IPG was a complete disaster when Roth took over in 13 years ago.

Still if a company is going to potentially destroy someone’s career with “nice rack”-type sex harassment accusations, it better be prepared to back those claims up, publicly and on the record.

Hopefully, the judge hearing this case agrees.



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