An email invitation for a party hosted by VaynerMedia and Thrillist Media Group, featuring a performance by Wyclef Jean caused a swift backlash, thanks to the line “Please be aware that this specific list is for attractive females and models only.” It went on to request that “Ladies” seeking admittance to the party send “recent untouched photos and/or your Instagram/Facebook links for you and each of your additional female guest [sic],” adding, “once we have reviewed we will send you specific entry details.” Men, meanwhile were advised to “contact the PR departments of the respective sponsors” to request admittance.
A female ad executive told Adweek that she and two colleagues received the email yesterday. One of them then forwarded the email to industry veteran and women’s advocate Cindy Gallop, who shared the email on Twitter and wrote, “It’s 2016, @vaynermedia @thrillist. This is not how you party at @cannes_lions.”
The email was sent by an events company called iGetIn. One of the women who received the email called the number listed and was told the sexist requests were a “totally normal practice.” Sounds pretty sketchy.
Gary Vaynerchuck seemed genuinely shocked to learn of its nature and quickly responded with a video apology. In it, he claimed he was “mortified” by the email, but accepted responsibility as VaynerMedia CEO. Vaynerchuck also reached out to apologize to the executive who forwarded the email to Gallop.
A Thrillist spokesperson, meanwhile, wrote, “A third party promotions company sent this email without us knowing. We apologize to anyone who was spammed with this but it didn’t come from Thrillist or Vayner. The guest list for the party has been closed for some time and will not include anyone who replies to that email.”
A VaynerMedia spokesperson told Adweek that the agency was not directly involved in the hiring of iGetIn and that “the message itself was not reflective of the company or its culture.” Adweek reached out iGetIn but has yet to receive a response.