A suit filed by the long time CCO at JWT New York against the new CEO, Gustavo Martinez who joined in 2015 and hails from Argentina, claims he's made all sorts of crazy remarks: making repeated rape jokes, racist remarks, and more. Erin Johnsson, who joined J. Walter Thompson in August 2005 as Director of Corporate Communications and climbed to the position of Chief Communications Officer in January 2009 has more than 15 years experience in communications and PR, filed the suit in Manhattan federal court today. She is demanding unspecified punitive and compensatory damages stating that the conduct of the new CEO has made it "virtually impossible" to do her job.
The suit claims that Martinez made rape jokes on several occasions, once stating that a female executive he didn't like should “hogtied” and “raped into submission”. The suit also alleges that Martinez grabbed Johnsson by the neck and said "Come here, so I can rape you in the bathroom.” Beyond the many rape quotes, the suit also claims that Martinez complains about living in Westchester county because he “hate[s] those f–king Jews”, it claims he has said the same to a reporter on a separate occasion. Martinez also told staffers he would avoid the “black monkeys” and the “apes” at airport customs because they “don’t know how to use computers.”
Another claim has Martinez making arrangements so that a black executive should sit next to a client, and friend of Martinez, that had just been accused of making racists comments. Martinez told staffers that he thought it would be funny.
When Johnson complained about Martinez’s conduct to executives at JWT and its parent company, WPP, Martinez retaliated by cutting her bonus and leaving her out of executive meetings, according to the suit.
Johnson said Martinez’s behavior made it virtually impossible to do her job or portray the agency in a positive light, according to the complaint. He also risked alienating clients with his steady stream of racist and sexist slurs, Johnson said.
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