MeToo has come to adland in India with a vengence, with agencies reacting to social-media accusations of "rape culture" and "blatant misuse of power".
Creativeland Asia, DDB Mudra, Dentsu Webchutney, Famous Innovations, iProspect and Publicis have all issued statements in response to allegations of sexual harassment by current or former employees made on social media in recent days.
A series of tweets, as documented by Campaign India, named a number of prominent men in the industry. It is important to note that some of these tweets merely shared material or referred to material that was posted anonymously. The men named include Ishrath Nawaz, ECD at Publicis, Omkar Sane, former creative director at Dentsu Webchutney, and Raj Kamble, founder and chief creative officer Famous Innovations, as well as employees of DDB Mudra Group, Creativeland Asia, WYP (What's Your Problem) and iProspect.
The outpouring of accusations against agency men follows similar airings of harassment incidents in the film industry and in mass-media publications over recent weeks.
We have reproduced statements from the agencies below:
We have taken note of the incidences reported in the tweets. We are deeply concerned by the seriousness of these allegations and are investigating them on priority. We will ascertain facts of the matter and see that the outcome is fair and just; and appropriate actions are taken as per the company’s policy. We re-iterate that Publicis India has a zero-tolerance policy towards any type of workplace misconduct or abuse of power or harassment.
We have seen some of the rumors spread by certain individuals in anonymity linking the agency with events. CLA has a great gender diverse working culture, we are one of the most secure and coveted creative agencies to work for. CLA has a robust system completely independent of the management to redress, assist and support, complainants having the employees interest at its heart.
On Sunday, an accusation of behaviors and actions that violate our code of conduct was levied against an individual at our agency, anonymously via a public post on a social media site. The accusation stands in stark contrast to our values and standards at 22feet Tribal Worldwide and at the DDB Mudra Group more broadly, where it is our primary responsibility and commitment to provide our associates with a safe, fair and dignified workplace. Within hours of being notified yesterday, we initiated the process of verifying the allegations and getting them investigated.
Omkar Sane worked with us at Dentsu Webchutney between 2014-2015. During his time here, we received official complaints about his behaviour from two employees. Post the investigation which started the next day, he was let go from his position and the office immediately. And the company hasn’t worked with him in any capacity since then.
Raj Kamble, founder and chief creative officer, Famous Innovations
I am shocked. In my 20-year career across three countries, this is the first time someone has said something like this about me. I have never done anything to any woman that would be offensive.
With more than 50% of our staff being female employees including the agency CEO, iProspect has always believed in providing a safe working environment for all. We have an internal committee adhering to Vishakha Guidelines. It is unfortunate that one of our recently recruited employees has been named in the #MeToo movement for an incident which is alleged to have happened a few years ago during his tenure with his previous employer. We have a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment at workplace and we will immediately be conducting an enquiry regarding this.