‘Mad Men, Furious Women’: Viral blog post sparks talk of advertising industry’s #MeToo moment

Former advertising industry employee says she has been inundated with emails from women detailing allegations of sexual misconduct

Olivia Petter
Thursday 15 July 2021 13:45
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A viral blogpost detailing allegations of sexual misconduct in the advertising industry has sparked what is being referred to as the sector’s “#MeToo moment”.

Former advertising industry employee Zoe Scaman has published a post entitled “Mad Men. Furious Women”, in which she details several allegations.

They include being sexually assaulted by a client outside a “big industry party”, being referred to as “a hot one” by someone who’s just interviewed her for a job, and being assaulted by one of her bosses after he followed her to a toilet cubicle on a night out.

Ms Scaman also includes allegations from other women in her piece, which include stories from pregnant women who have been made redundant, and one woman who claims a senior producer once refused to let her into the bathroom unless she “let him snort a line off [her] breasts”.

“I tell you these stories not to be sensationalist and not to seek out your sympathies, but because I want you to understand,” she writes.

“There are real, horrific and painful reasons why women in this industry are angry, broken, exhausted and often scared into silence.”

Ms Scaman says that she has received hundreds of messages from women.

“None of this was surprising and none of it was new,” she explained. “Because though we like to believe that misogyny and the mistreatment of women is a thing of the past, it is not.

“Instead it has morphed and evolved into something insidious; no longer overt and no longer a common occurrence carried out in public for all to see.”

She went on to explain how these allegations are often “moved behind the curtain” so that they continue and points to a 2018 survey by TimeTo, the ad industry body set up in the wake of #MeToo, which found that 41 per cent of respondents had experienced sexual harassment and/or assault at work. However, 83 per cent had not reported it.

“Every single woman I’ve spoken to has a story from their time in the industry,” she concludes. “Each story is a match. One-by-one, spark-by-spark, the flames are rising and the fire is getting hotter.

“And between us, with our pain and our rage, there just may come a moment when enough is enough and collectively, we decide to burn it all down. For me personally, that time is already here.”

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