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More than 180 of the most senior female ad executives in North America have formed Time's Up Advertising, an anti-harassment campaign and legal aid fundraiser.
The group are signatories of a letter published on the Time's Up Advertising website Monday, saying they will address workplace discrimination, harassment and abuse "and create equitable cultures within our agencies."
Women including Andrea Diquez, the chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi NY, Nathalie Fagnan, the chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide North America Operations, and Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, have signed the "letter of solidarity."
"As leaders, it's on us to foster a workplace where people are challenged but still respected. Sexual harassment is not OK. Never. No exceptions. No amount of talent, missed cues, or being great in the room unchecks the No Sexual Harassment box," they said.
The original Time's Up was founded on January 1 by women in the entertainment industry, campaigning for those who do manual labor and other "underrepresented groups" to be treated fairly. Actors including Jennifer Aniston, Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon each donated $500,000 to the organization's legal defense fund, which will help women and men who have suffered sexual harassment, assault or abuse at work.
The advertising arm of the campaign posted a tweet saying "We see you. We see your talent. We see the gap. Change is coming — real change. Time's up, advertising." It will hold events on May 14 in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto to kick off its aims of examining workplace harassment policies, helping people with a focus on diversity become leaders and launch training to agencies.
In October, former ad industry head Cindy Gallop called for women in the advertising industry to email her their experiences of sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment and bias and sexism is a systemic cultural problem in my industry," she told CNBC. "Achieving gender equality and diversity are the buzzwords at the moment but which will never happen as long as sexual harassment is endemic in every industry," she added.