The momentum from the #metoo movement carried the crusade into the advertising industry, ousting those who abused their power and leaving the rest of the industry wondering about what’s to come. As the #metoo movement marches on, here are the things you need to know.
Diet Madison Avenue
In response to HR’s failure to support those who come forward about sexual harassment in the workplace, industry insiders took justice into their own hands. Now, seventeen colleagues manage an Instagram account called Diet Madison Avenue. The collective works with lawyers and academics to respond to direct messages from people in advertising who have faced sexual harassment in the workplace. They’ve drummed up controversy by posting stories about high-powered professionals taking advantage of subordinates. Diet Madison Avenue claims to thoroughly vet each story before publishing them. However, the lack of transparency in the vetting process, which protects the subordinate from retaliation, leaves some people skeptical about this source’s reliability.
Time’s Up Advertising
Nearly 200 women in executive positions at various ad agencies launched an initiative in partnership with the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, an organization that provides subsidized legal support for those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. These women are focusing exclusively on the culture of the industry which has permitted harm and lack of diversity. This May, Time’s Up Advertising will host talks in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Toronto. It’s an opportunity for people to talk about the changes that need to occur within the advertising industry in order to see a shift towards a healthier, more inclusive culture. At this time, they give no indication of what those changes might be.
Some HR consultancies wonder if altering dating policies will induce positive changes in the workplace, while others question the overall effectiveness of these policies. Many who have dating policies explicitly banned relationships between two employees where one employee is the subordinate of the other. Those without dating policies argue that such policies are only in place to protect companies from lawsuits, not to help employees. They say that what’s more effective than the policy is fostering a culture that’s knowledgeable about what sexual harassment is, how to prevent it, and how to resolve disputes should they arise.