Innocean CCO Eric Springer Defends Himself Against Sexual Harassment Claims in a Public Facebook Post

By Patrick Coffee Comment

Last night, Innocean chief creative officer Eric Springer offered the first public response to claims made in a lawsuit filed against him and his agency by former director of content Victoria Guenier in January.

The suit specifically accused both Innocean and its CCO of sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination.

In the post, Springer countered several of the claims made in the suit, writing, “These accusations are false.”

“We have had nothing but a positive, productive, professional relationship,” he wrote of Guenier, stating that his family and hers have also mixed outside the office. The two worked together at multiple agencies, including Deutsch, before she came to Innocean in 2017 as a freelance producer.

The post also included several screenshots—primarily of email and text exchanges between himself and Guenier—that Springer positioned as evidence to “debunk” the assertions made in the suit.

For example, Springer included a card signed “Queenie” in order to dispute the claim that this was a diminutive nickname, writing, “This was a hand written Christmas card she sent along with a gift, months after the supposed offenses occurred.” He also posted an email in which Guenier recommended a colleague for a job four months after leaving Innocean, positioning it as evidence that the agency “wasn’t a hostile work environment at all.”

Perhaps most significantly, he shared a screenshot of an email in which Guenier discussed her own departure from the company, writing, “This obviously negates the possibility of a ‘wrongful termination,’ since she resigned.”

(The lawsuit claimed that Guenier was effectively forced to resign after registering multiple complaints about Springer with the agency’s HR department.)

The CCO also denied that he ever initiated unwanted physical contact, writing, “As for the allegation that I ‘slapped Victoria on her butt,’ that never happened. Period.”

Springer did not directly address several of the other claims made in the suit, including incidents in which he allegedly cursed at Guenier and asked her whether she’d had sex with a job applicant.

Innocean’s PR firm has not yet responded to a request for comment on the post this afternoon. We also reached out to Springer directly but have yet to receive a response. In February, Innocean’s legal team filed a counter-claim calling on the judge to dismiss the suit and order the agency’s legal fees repaid.

Several days after Adweek broke news of the case, Innocean placed Springer on leave, launched an official investigation and hired The 3 Percent Conference to perform its certification process. It later named GCDs Bob Rayburn and Barney Goldberg to take over creative on the Genesis and Hyundai accounts.

A current employee at the agency said Springer remains on leave as of last week and that staff members are being deposed for both his case and the harassment suit filed against now-former vp of customer relations management Michael Sachs.

“I cannot get into another human being’s head or heart,” Springer wrote in the concluding section of his post. “So I cannot say what Victoria Grenier’s motivation is in taking this action against me. I would hate to think it is merely to attempt to take advantage of the TimesUp and MeToo movements to achieve some personal financial gain. As anyone who knows me will attest, I believe the MeToo and TimesUp movements are important and needed to happen. I’m in full support of women telling their truths in the name of justice and equality. However, they must be truths. Victoria’s allegations are not.”

He continued: “Through her actions, my life and reputation have been turned upside down. We cannot tolerate a culture of abuse. But we also cannot tolerate a culture in which someone’s career and reputation can be ruined through the mere act of being wrongfully accused. At least I hope we can’t.”

He then ended the post by thanking all who took the time to read it.

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