Internal Memo: IPG Mediabrands CEO Daryl Lee Addresses ‘Shocking Brutality’ and Racism

By Erik Oster Comment

In an internal memo obtained by AgencySpy, IPG Mediabrands CEO Daryl Lee addressed the “shocking brutality” of the events of the past week, alluding to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, placing such events in the context of both the “shared trauma” of the coronavirus pandemic and the realities of systemic racism.

IPG CEO Michael Roth also addressed systemic racism in light of recent events today in an internal memo that was otherwise focused on IPG’s reopening strategy.

Lee opened his memo by describing the reality of news surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic as shared trauma. He explained that “underneath that shared trauma has been a tragedy that only some of us have felt” in reference to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, citing “a systemic lack of access to quality healthcare” as among the contributing factors.

Lee continued, “Now, on top of this raw truth, over the past few months and as recently as this past week, we have had to deal with stories of shocking brutality against people of color,” which he said “have horrified us all.”

Especially in the context of a time “when our shared vulnerability as human beings is clear,” he said, “it is sickening that we need to reaffirm that everyone matters in our society. But we need to, and we do.

“But it is also important to recognize that some of our colleagues will have been affected more deeply and more personally by these actions,” Lee stressed. He called on employees to “show them extra consideration and companionship during this already anxious time,” and to “take the time to reach out, show them you care and support them in any way that you can.”

Lee reaffirmed that IPG Mediabrands is “a community of care, built on the shared values of modern democracy: respect for the dignity of all, and recognition of the equality of everyone,” promising that “we will rededicate ourselves at Mediabrands to making our culture of care even stronger: more diverse and more united.

“Please take care of yourselves and, especially, each other during this time,” he concluded. “And let’s take care of our future together.”

Here is the memo in full:

We are all facing the reality of news around the COVID pandemic that has been chilling: the announcement of daily deaths, the images of body bags in refrigerated morgue trucks, the scenes of nursing homes with ambulances lined up around them. This is a trauma we all face, every day, and that we all share in. And will continue to do for some time until we have a vaccine and hopefully also a cure for COVID.

But underneath that shared trauma, has been a tragedy that only some of us have felt. That is the story of the lives of communities of color, who have been disproportionately hit by the impact of the virus, for a variety of reasons including a systemic lack of access to quality healthcare.

Now, on top of this raw truth, over the past few months and as recently as this past week, we have had to deal with stories of shocking brutality against people of color. I know I speak for everyone at Mediabrands when I say that these acts of violence against people of color have horrified us all. At a time when our shared vulnerability as human beings is so clear, it is sickening that we need to re-affirm that everyone matters in our society. But we need to, and we do.

But it is also important to recognize that some of our colleagues will have been affected more deeply and more personally by these actions. They will need us to show them extra consideration and companionship during this already anxious time. Please take the time to reach out, show them you care and support them in any way that you can. 

We are a community of care, built on the shared values of modern democracy: respect for the dignity of all, and recognition of the equality of everyone. We can take comfort in knowing that our community and its values represent those of the vast majority of people in the world.

As we watch people and leaders around the country join together to condemn racism in all its forms, institutional and personal, we will re-dedicate ourselves at Mediabrands to making our culture of care even stronger: more diverse and more united. That is what we can do, and what we will do.

 Please take care of yourselves and, especially, each other during this time.

 And let’s take care of our future together.

 Daryl

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