Time’s Up Advertising has condemned London International Awards’ (LIA) decision to give former Droga5 executive Ted Royer a platform to speak.
The organization, which formed in the wake of the #MeToo movement, published an open letter to LIA Founder and President Barbara Levy in which it expressed its "deep disappointment" following the event in Las Vegas on Sunday.
LIA has been heavily criticised by attendees after Royer delivered a speech lasting more than an hour, which addressed allegations made against him by anonymous social media account Diet Madison Avenue. Attendees claim they were not made aware Royer would be speaking.
@LIAawards just manipulated their audience by sneaking in #TedRoyer and giving him a platform to deny the accusations of sexual harassment he was fired for and “apologize”.— Girlsday (@Girlsday312) October 6, 2019
Thanks @LIAawards for making it clear you don’t believe or support the women in advertising. #MeToo
Royer was fired from Droga5—now owned by Accenture—in February 2018 after more than a decade. He was its chief creative officer at the time. The agency has never confirmed the reason for his firing; at the time, it simply cited a commitment to "maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees."
Part of the Time’s Up letter reads: "Time’s Up Advertising is deeply disappointed in your decision to shroud an appearance by Ted Royer in secrecy and give him a powerful platform to deny responsibility for his well-documented, harmful behavior -- to the detriment of London International Advertising Awards attendees.
"By handing Royer the mic, you disempowered attendees in the audience who would have otherwise chosen not to attend his talk. You left no option for consent. You showed disrespect for LIA attendees who have been harmed by Royer’s behavior, specifically, or have faced similarly disturbing behavior in the workplace.
"You have signaled that his voice is worth a platform, while our voices aren’t worth believing. What’s more: by failing to disclose his speaking engagement in advance, it seems clear that you knew exactly what you were doing."
Barbara Levy & @LIAawards:— TIME'S UP (@TIMESUPNOW) October 9, 2019
By handing Ted Royer the mic, you disempowered attendees in the audience who would have otherwise chosen not to attend his talk. You left no option for consent.
Read the full letter from #TIMESUP Advertising: pic.twitter.com/syQOY5MyW2
As part of his address, Royer told the crowd: "I don’t want to hide any more."
His appearance has reportedly led agency network FCB to terminate its relationship with LIA, according to Business Insider. The network, part of Interpublic, said the presentation was "deeply upsetting to some of our team in attendance" and noted that the reaction and response by the LIA "has been very disappointing and unsatisfactory."
Royer declined to comment.
LIA and FCB have not responded to requests for comment by Campaign US.