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Accountability Is A Bitch: Rousing Declaration Against Bullying and Sexual Assault in Adland

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In response to last weekend’s ‘Mad Men. Furious Women.’ article, a collective of people ‘let down by the industry’, issue a zero-tolerance declaration

Accountability Is A Bitch: Rousing Declaration Against Bullying and Sexual Assault in Adland
On Sunday July 4th, Bodacious founder Zoe Scaman lit flame that blazed through the advertising industry. In a brave and highly personal piece, called ‘Mad Men. Furious Women.’ she outlined her personal experiences of sexism, assault, harassment and bullying in the advertising world – and shared anonymous accounts from numerous women who had shared their own stories with her. The details shared in the piece were harrowing but also familiar, and in the article Zoe argued that despite the #MeToo movement, known bullies and harassers (particularly those at senior levels) are protected and shielded by agencies.

The article struck a nerve and has been shared widely - and has had more than 50,000 views. It inspired conversations about how NDAs have been used to silence women and how the industry has enabled both casual misogyny and dangerous predators.

Inspired by the piece and its response, a group of anonymous industry people have come together to write a ‘Battlecry’, a declaration of zero-tolerance. It has been shared on social media with the warning: ‘This is the moment you never wanted to come from all the people who have been let down by the industry’.

Read the full statement below:


This is the moment you never wanted to come.
The line in the sand you never thought anyone would draw. The chorus of people rising, one by one
Each saying, ‘No more’.
No more will we let you get away with your behaviour. No more will we bury the stories and suffer in silence.
No more will we let you hide behind your wives and your daughters.
No more will we accept your online virtue signalling as a sign you’ve changed.
No more will we let you be heralded as CEO’s, Founders, ECD’s and leaders of this industry. Moving forward your reputations will be forever scarred.
As we are.
If you are worried your name has been shared - it has.
If you are worried people are talking about you - they are. And a lot of us have receipts.
Your NDAs may protect you for now. And the law may be on your side.
But what is not, is us.
The people you have hurt. Degraded. Fired. Assaulted. Raped. You may not believe that happens here.
But it does. All. The. Time.
You and the people put in place to protect you have just made those stories disappear. You have all persuaded yourselves that it’s ‘not that bad’
But who gets to decide what is good and bad? Who gets to decide what is right and wrong? Who gets to play judge and jury?
It was you.
But now it’s us.
We have recognised that Management teams and HR departments protect businesses. So, from now on, we will protect ourselves.
We will have a zero tolerance approach. We won’t escalate internally.
We’ll escalate to the police.
We won’t sign your silencing documents. We’ll shout your names from the rooftops.
We won’t cower under your threats of reprisal. We’ll stand tall with an army at our backs.
We won’t take your money to stay quiet.
From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut.
While we may not be able to hold you accountable for your actions of the past We can hold you accountable for your actions today and tomorrow.
Think of this as your point of reckoning.
A moment in time where you have a choice to make. To hold yourself and your behaviour accountable.
To learn and grow and change.
Or to keep doing what you are doing
And to push against the turning of the tide.
But trust us when we say, if you do, we will pull you under. 
Because now you won’t be able to squash one person and their experience You’ll have to take on us all.
You ignored Times Up and Me Too, narrowly, and laughed about it in bars (yes, we know). But you should be more scared of this.
Now you won’t even get away with so much as a stray wink. Good luck out there.
Accountability is a bitch.
And now all eyes are on you.


Written for and by all those let down by the industry.







Photo by Stewart Munro on Unsplash
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LBB Editorial, Wed, 07 Jul 2021 15:06:11 GMT