Hill Holliday Responds to Assault Allegation From Former Intern

By Erik Oster Comment

Hill Holliday has responded to a former intern who accused the agency of not adequately acknowledging an assault allegation.

Arnold copywriter Becky Brinkerhoff took to Twitter yesterday alleging that she was assaulted by a male associate creative director while she was an intern at Hill Holliday four years ago.

Brinkerhoff claims that after her internship ended, the associate creative director was paired with “young female interns” again, even after her complaint was filed. Brinkerhoff called out Hill Holliday CEO Karen Kaplan who had been made aware of her situation.

“The painful situation Ms. Brinkerhoff is tweeting about from 2016 is one that no one should ever have to experience,” Kaplan wrote in a statement to AgencySpy. “I’ve reached out to her and I welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with her. As a woman who has spent my entire career supporting and empowering other women, this type of behavior has never, and will never, be condoned on my watch. I take these matters very seriously, and I have worked tirelessly to create an environment that’s safe, inclusive and supportive for everyone.”

After her internship Brinkerhoff went on to work for Hill Holiday as a copywriter before joining Arnold in 2018. She did not respond to a request for comment.

In a follow-up tweet, Brinkerhoff clarified that Kaplan’s response in 2016 was not, “I thought this was handled,” but rather, “It’s my understanding that this was thoroughly investigated while you were still at HH.”

Brinkerhoff also claimed on Twitter that Kaplan “tried to sweep it under the rug” and “let her HR department lie on record to the holding company.”

“We investigated the matter in partnership with our holding company, and took what we believed to be appropriate disciplinary action at the time,” Kaplan wrote in her statement today, adding, “At the time, Ms. Brinkerhoff agreed with our decision and it was our sincere belief that we did everything right. But it became clear yesterday that in Ms. Brinkerhoff’s eyes, these actions weren’t enough, and that is something we need to learn from, and we apologize that she now feels we should have done more. As an agency, we are always looking to be better and do better, and we will review all our processes and policies going forward.”

Brinkerhoff’s comments came as Kaplan appeared at The 3% Conference yesterday. Brinkerhoff, who serves as social content creator and manager for The 3% Movement and lead editor for its Voices blog, wrote that she objected to Kaplan “invading” the space and Kaplan labeling herself a “conscious leader.”

The 3% Movement founder, CEO Kat Gordon, was not immediately available for comment.

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