Sexual Harrassment in Advertising/Tech

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  • shellie

    Women in Tech that are easy on the eyes can be a unicorn situation at times and can bring a lot of attention. I came up with a handful of talented and gorgeous women in LA that absolutely kill it professionally but also get treated like shit behind the scenes. It's horrible that it's expected that we just take it and shut up if we wish to climb and be trusted with the responsibility we've earned.

    I recently blocked a CD for a large advertising firm on Facebook for sexually harrassing me relentlessly on FB messenger. He made sure to do it after bragging about his superbowl Comercial, which added an extra helping of yuck onto what he said to me next. I forgot a bit about him to be honest as he used to do the same through text but I changed my number a few years ago.  He has a fucking problem for real. I've always made it clear i wasnt with it and he should fully fuck off with that talk. Ive never made it seem like i was okay with it. I also never dated him or any of our mutual collegues, although that shouldn't matter if I did.  No still means no.

    This past Sunday after walking up to the grossest string of messages I had enough and posted about it on Facebook. Two other women PMed me confirming they were also harrassed by the same guy after recognizing his MO. We've all known him for around 15 years and his antics have gone on just as long. We were all isolated and it's embarrassing to talk about so it just never came up on the professional circles we run in. It took my post (that didn't name him outright) for them to speak to me about it. That's a shame.

    I have options now. I think I've done a good enough job of protecting myself from being physically abused and so have the the other women. We were all young when we met and first worked together and now we are 30 something women. But now i worry about the young girls and interns exposed to this guy. Who thinks hes such a fancy pants luxury brand CD. If some newbie was really abitious but also inexperienced, they might think they can't refuse his advances. I think I'm fine in this situation, but i don't think i can sleep well knowing hes got a free pass to do this to anyone else. He clearly shouldn't be a manager of any kind, especially over other women for sure. I'm also worried that simply unfriending and blocking him on twitter will make him a petty bitch and he'll try to keep me from massive contracts with that ad agency - all because hes embarrassed or feels rejected. I definately have a problem with that. Im also not single btw, which he knows and he's now engaged to some (poor) chick -- it's so gross.

    Now i have to decide if I'm going to be the one to tar and feather him, or if i leave him to eventually upgrade to sexual assault on someone weaker.  Hes disrespecting his fiance as well (although I don't know the broad - she's not my friend and I don't really owe her the truth about her man). Let's be real, whistle blowers don't get a lot of respect in the industry and although I've done nothing wrong, speaking out for real is still a stain on my name in the eyes of lots of my male peers. I don't want people to think they can't be themselves around me (unless they're a predator - keep that to yourself) or that I'll get people fired or sue whenever for whatever. Working in tech or advertising, there's a level of this I expect to endure even though I shouldn't have to. Until now, my limit had not been reached.


    ^^^^ All the goddamn time except the bar is the office ^^^^

  • PonyBoy5

    Tar and Feather the fucker (I read your FB post this morning)...

    Don't leave him out there to keep doing this to other women. If you have the consistent proof that he's a piece of shit... take his ass down.

    And tell him... like all Superbowl commercials... his sucked too. :)

  • _niko3

    You should be able to go to HR or the higher ups and have him disciplined, I'm sure you're not the only one who's complained about him. If the company doesn't take action they could be held responsible.

    Or just get some homies to scare the shit out of him.

    • not worth a fig, this isn't about that assholes job, HR can't do crap about on what level a dickhead he is.
      last line makes more sense...
      sted
    • Here's my real fear. I could make 50k+ in contracts if i tried. He could stop that, or the agency might want to put distance between them and this situation.shellie
    • Stead is feeling me on this. Everyone says HR bit i think the system is set up to forgive and protect him and maybe fire him silently months later.shellie
  • Maaku0

    Read something similar about a woman designer that worked for Uber.
    And I personally have heard CEOs and clients bragging about young girls :-/ very uncomfortable.

  • _niko0

    What if your FB messenger got accidentally 'hacked' and his creepy messages were leaked to social media for everyone to see what a dirtbag he is hehe

    Like what happened to Anthony Weiner

    • yeah, just post those message. if he hasn't got his name as www .com, take it, and post his messages on there.fruitsalad
  • fruitsalad-3

    Get him blind drunk, then get in a taxi to a love hotel, have a stern and strong ladyboy pre arranged to meet at hotel, swap with ladyboy. Let ladyboy do their stuff, take photos.

    Blackmail.

    • do him like the principle in the Vice Principles showmoldero
  • cannonball19780

    I'm sorry you are facing harassment from this fellow, but it sounds like you know what to do about the situation. I would let him know that it's unwelcome attention and if he persists that you and other women have shared your experiences with each other.

    You should expect him to be a petty bitch, that some sort of mild confrontation is inevitable, and to go from there.

    • You're right. Im coming to terms with this today. I don't like confrontation. But sometimes it has to come when it comesshellie
    • If you confront him he may retaliate, which is illegal and should be protected against by your HR department.kona
  • kona1

    I'm real sorry to hear you have to go through that bullshit.

    Coming from a sr manager position at a large corporation, you are protected when bringing this to the attention of HR. That is to say, if HR and this person aren't part of some bullshit corporate alliance. I know for a fact at my last company HR took a claim from a woman I know seriously and fired the offending person the next day. However, I've also heard of a few large companies that have fired the person making the claim for some pretty b.s. reasons. If you know some of (or the) person who leads your HR department and are comfortable and confident they're legit, bring your documentation and claim to them immediately.

    • great advice... that internal 'corporate alliance' shit can be hell to cut throughPonyBoy
    • "bullshit corporate alliance" also means drinking buddies? :Dsted
    • last time I did something similar they turned the case against me saying that i'm racist lol.new ceo wanted to fill the place with cheap workforce from indiasted
    • and they where some high level assholes with zero office culture.sted
  • Continuity1

    I assume this guy is still employed in an agency, and not freelancing? If not, take it up with the agency's Managing Director. See what happens.

    Is the agency in question relatively well-known in the broader industry (not just in the States)? Because if it is, then I would suggest the following if the MD of the shop pretends everything is cool:

    1) Take the offending messages to the cops, and have him charged with harassment (which should be done in any case), and;

    2) Scoop the big industry trade journals (double-check the legality of it) with said messages. I'm sure AdAge & Co would have a field day, if the agency in question is well-enough known.

    I look forward to reading about to shitstorm. :D

    • *about _the_ shitstormContinuity
    • And I might also add: this situation sucks from beginning to end, and I'm REALLY sorry you're going through that. No-one should have to tolerate that.Continuity
    • Oh wow. Attention on fb and here seems like a lot. I can't imagine publishing a legit industry rag story. But if the other womenshellie
    • Spoke up too it would be huge. One is a very sr producer and one is now an exect for a huge game publisher.shellie
    • The thing is, this really is a hot topic in the industry right now, and the more voices like yours that go out into the public eye, the better, in my view.Continuity
    • And also with the cops: I don't know what it's like wherever you are, but I know in Canada and here in Germany, this is a criminal offence.Continuity
    • What he's doing, I mean.Continuity
    • its too nuanced for criminal offense I think. He says my "face is sex" and he'll "venmo me ho" and im a "slut" hes not saying he will rape me or he's outsideshellie
    • my window.shellie
    • i've seen that things like stalking cases in the united states (unattached to a business or work situation) is hard to get traction on.shellie
    • you're right but notifying the police helps them build a case if it escalates. Patterns of behaviours are important in convicting someone. He'll have a mark onzarkonite
    • his file and if it happens a lot they can take the next step. I filed a complaint for assault once and I wasn't the first one and it led to some consequenceszarkonite
    • even though I didn't have material proof of the assault.zarkonite
  • _niko12

    plus you've come to the right place, QBN'll straighten him out for you Just give us his name! lol

    • < This!Continuity
    • Ha! Good to know there's good dudes out there. Ill be careful not to dox him just yet. Last thing i want is to get sued for harrassment.shellie
    • do itmoldero
    • put his head on a stick!pango
    • Put his knob on a stick, more like. Go Ramsay Bolton on him.Continuity
  • shellie0

    A caveat to this story: i'm a vendor on record and ive done work for them in the past. I run my own company. Im not a staff employee and Im not a regular in office agency freelancer. Which is why the HR approach see.s less viable. I'm basically an outside vendor and i do not have any projects currently running with the agency. Since he's been hired, he's never been assigned to any of my projects. I don't think i have the same rights as just a regular citizen against some Facebook messages and texts. He does clearly list his agency and position publically on all his social media outlets, so he's representing the company there. I could pitch and potentially win large contacts with this agency, which i may do now just to see if im rejected. He may or may not be able to help or stop me in that respect. I don't know the inner workings of the agency that intimately. But if they don't give me a job i may have some extra leverage.

    Im going to consult a lawyer about this. I have a friend looking for resources in California since he and the agency are in LA. I have recently relocated to NY.

    • It is still highly illegal. It doesn't matter that you aren't employed by the company as it's still against his company policy.kona
    • You worked for the company as a vendor, you're in their system, you are now a part of their anti-harassment policy.kona
  • sted2

    Eh forge this HR crap at most places they are just servants.
    If you really want to a fuck with his dignity find the most powerful woman at the agency and start a conversation with her. Believe me it will not be difficult to achieve what you want. But this won't change the man.

    The best is to ask a friend who you trust to kick his ass and leave a message. Nothing serious just that he will know that this is going to happen each time when he does something like that.

    • HR are fucking dancing monkeys, in my experience.Continuity
  • Continuity2

    Shellie, one more argument in favour of taking this to the industry journals:

    Obviously, your first choice is to go to the proper channels — in this case, straight to the managing director. This is happening under his watch (I;m assuming it's a 'him'). It's the reputation of his agency that's on the line and — by extension — his own. It's in his best interest to deal with your case swiftly and decisively.

    If he doesn't — and it wouldn't surprise me if he decides your case hasn't got merit — then he is automatically complicit. It would be a tacit endorsement of this CD's behaviour, which must absolutely be called out.

    I understand that this is a deeply hurtful and menacing situation which you would like to be able to glide through without a confrontation that will break you and lead to nothing ... but really — as a woman — you can't sit there and be silent. Your silence will be an allowance for this kind of shit to continue throughout the industry.

    You have a really golden opportunity, here, to further the cause of women not just in advertising, but everywhere they work, regardless of the industry.

  • sarahfailin1

    I agree that you should do whatever you can to nail this guy while protecting yourself and the other women affected.

    Can you take the facebook/text messages from you and the other women, redact the names (except his, clearly) and submit them to the proper authorities via an anonymous email address?

    Tell them that none of you wishes to be identified (if that is the case) but that you can continue to communicate via email anonymously.

    just an idea. nail the mofo.

  • SteveJobs1

    Be careful in how you approach this. For sure consult an attorney so you can see what you can leverage but make sure you understand any recourse that will be available to him and be prepared for any fallout as the result of a public shaming.

    Anything equivalent to a slap on the wrist might not teach him (or other offenders) and only serve to further exacerbate the issue between you two and possibly cause irreparable damage to your career. (who knows who else he's buddies with in the industry that you'd want to work with that might side with him.)

    Maybe a (anonymous) letter to AdAge detailing the situation?
    http://adage.com/article/agency-…

    Btw, I didn't believe until recently that men actually harass women with dick pics and apparently no amount of retaliation deters them. What the hell is wrong with my gender?

    • Im afraid of the backlash, even if u take the highest road to some sort of action about this. That's my biggest fear and what keeps other women silent.shellie
    • I know and I'm sorry you're in this situation. :/SteveJobs
    • Take the low road. Grind him down slowly. Start messing with him. Low key stuff, such as Craigslist AD offering ladyboy service, direct to his number etc.fruitsalad
    • Try to always inject a joke about his small member when in meetings. Loudly make a joke in his presence how he wanted to show it to you, but you didn't havefruitsalad
    • your microscope handy.fruitsalad
    • Leave a small cocktail frankfurter outside his office door everyday. Just subtly drop it on your way past in the morning.fruitsalad
    • Print out those messages he sent and post them in the ladies toilets at work. Make sure everyone female in that office knows what he really is like.fruitsalad
  • Fax_Benson0

    that's a shitty and familiar story. Definitely speak to a legal bod with experience of similar situations first.

  • ernexbcn0

    I've heard some bad stories lately regarding taking stuff like this to HR, such as getting the complete opposite result that common sense would dictate on a situation like this.

  • pango0

    put his head on a stick!

  • noneck0

    "What the hell is wrong with my gender?"

    We don't call out douchebag behaviour when we witness it, thereby giving it our tacit approval.

  • Hayoth-2

    So what exactly did he say?

    Post screen grabs of the comments.

  • mugwart1

    From my experience with a friend, HR couldn't do anything as the communications were not via work channels (aka in work place, work email etc). There is so many procedures that they have to follow, and are their to protect the firms reputation.

    Maybe talk to them off the record without telling names first.

    That said you much follow your heart and do what you think is right. Ive seen sexism on both sides and its a fucking disgrace.

    I'd get the other girls together collate all the messages of communications and track his finance down. She has to know at least. This could be done anonymously as well. Once this has done the damage I would then move into the firm.

    Another thing to take into account is how protected he is with this firm, i call it the funny handshake. (I'm from an old uk family so i say it a lot growing up.) be he one or not - he sounds very protected by the firm.
    I have seen a lot of weird shit in my time so above all make sure your extremely paranoid and cover all your bases before you make your play.

    Let us know if you need help.

    Another idea is to go on the dark web and get a hacker. get as much dirt on him as possible. then take it to him and ask him to stop.

    • a friend of mine won a harassment settlement over events that happened after hours in person. i don't think it matters what means of communication.sarahfailin
    • Good for her. This might be an UK thing not sure.mugwart