Blind Items: A Little Harassment Here, A Little Harassment There

By Patrick Coffee 

Happy Friday to all and apologies for the paucity of posts this week as both of your resident spies have been working on other things for some company you may have heard of. As the 20th Century Steel Band put it, everyone’s got to make a living.

  • It seems nobody is safe from the wave of sexual harassment allegations sweeping the worlds of media, entertainment and politics … except for advertising, of course. But we all know that’s not because it doesn’t happen. According to one agency’s Glassdoor page, the harassment started during the job interview itself. This shop’s CEO allegedly behaved very inappropriately toward a woman looking for a job a few years ago; she didn’t report him at the time but felt the need to do so in the Wake of Weinstein. Please note that one should be skeptical of everything on Glassdoor, given the number of disgruntled workers who see the site as a place to grind their axes and the HR departments who allegedly offer bonuses for positive reviews (or just very strongly suggest that employees should write them if they want to get promoted). On a side note, a 9th circuit court decision that came down last week would appear to conclude that it’s legal to subpoena anonymous commenters as long as the investigation is “in good faith.” Good thing the comments on this blog aren’t anonymous anymore!
  • Meanwhile, agencies keep having a tough time. One shop that made headlines for going completely independent keeps losing business and shrinking its staff. Sources can’t confirm how many employees were let go in recent weeks, but one party says the production department now consists of only two people: “a single editor and an audio guy.”
  • Another, bigger agency has been on a similar losing streak, with three accounts disappearing over the past two weeks alone. According to our tipsters, the team working on a prominent candy business didn’t realize the client was leaving until a certain competing publication ran a story about it. Management then allegedly told employees a different client that had fired the agency was simply moving toward project work and conveniently took the day off when layoffs hit, because investing in talent is always important.
  • Speaking of investments, one prominent agency executive apparently couldn’t hack it as an angel. The shop’s custom multimillion dollar fund, which has included a bunch of tech and ecommerce companies (and at least one late social media-style company) on its roster, has allegedly shut down due to what can only be called a lack of self-interest.
  • But these down days aren’t just hitting agencies. According to our sources, a major toy brand currently owes its AOR more than a million dollars in fees. This client allegedly argues that it simply can’t pay for the work that’s already been done, though it may well be pulling a “stall until the next fiscal year” move. Every kid who knows what’s up will be asking for an iPhone X this Christmas anyway.

*Any form of harassment is an incredibly serious matter. But we chose the most ridiculous stock image in a related series because it was there.