When #MeToo Came to Madison Avenue

The ad industry moves to confront a culture of chronic harassment


It could be a line from a Hollywood screenplay: “Come here, so I can rape you in the bathroom.” But it comes from the lawsuit Erin Johnson vs. Gustavo Martinez, J. Walter Thompson and WPP.

Johnson, the now-former global head of communications at JWT, alleged that Martinez, who was then its CEO, repeatedly harassed and undermined her and other staff members. He initially denied the charges but soon resigned—and weeks after Johnson’s claims went public in early 2016, a video emerged in which he could be heard joking about being “raped … and not in the nice way.”

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This story first appeared in the April 9, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.