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New JWT boss Martinez in the dock over sexist claims

Ouch – here’s nasty one for JWT and owner WPP.

Former JWT communications director Erin Johnson is filing a suit against the agency’s new boss, Argentine Gustavo Martinez, which includes allegations he made racial slurs and offered to “rape” her and others.

Martinez says: “I am aware of the allegations made against me by a J. Walter Thompson employee in a suit filed in New York Federal Court. I want to assure our clients and my colleagues that there is absolutely no truth to these outlandish allegations and I am confident that this will be proven in court.”

Martinez took over from the rather more mild-mannered Bob Jeffrey (right, below, with Martinez) as head of JWT last year.
martinez-jwt-hed-2013

This may be sorted but it doesn’t look good for Martinez or WPP’s judgement.

We tend to decry these things in the good old UK (silly us). We and most of the rest of the ad industry scoffed when Campaign devoted this week to International Women’s Day with gems including a daft ‘open’ letter from the female head of Carat to her sons about gender discrimination. Haven’t they got more pressing issues on their young minds? Or, indeed, we on ours?

But the allegations against Martinez are serious and it’s not the last time such allegations have emerged from the US agency world. What are these guys on?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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