'Women are crap', says ad guru

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The Independent Online

A man who has allowed himself to be described as "the best advertising copywriter that ever lived" has offered to resign over a speech in which he described female colleagues as "crap".

Neil French, a 61-year-old "roving creative consultant" for the global advertising and marketing company WPP, was asked why women were under-represented among the ranks of senior creative directors at advertising agencies. Known for opinions delivered with a degree of brutality, Mr French responded: "They're crap."

He made the comment in a recent speech in Toronto and the gossipy world of advertising believes he is now on his way out. An advertising executive said: "It was immediately unclear whether he had been forced to resign or left on his own."

The assertion from a man who says he is ever-conscious of his own "brand" did not go without response from female colleagues. Nancy Vonk, co-chief creative officer at the WPP subsidiary Ogilvy in Toronto, said that while she felt "honoured" he counted her among his friends, her esteem had its limits.

WPP are studying a transcript of his speech before deciding whether to accept Mr French's resignation.

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