Neil French leaving WPP

This morning, Adage.com reports that Neil French, WPP Group worldwide creative director, is leaving the holding company. The news comes on the heels of the ihaveanidea.org's "Night with Neil French" where he made some derogatory comments about women in advertising.

It was immediately unclear whether he has been forced to resign or left on his own. According to online accounts of the speech, he ranted against women in the profession, saying they're more concerned with their role as childbearers than working long hours on behalf of clients.
[...snip...]
He was reported to have said, "Women don't make it to the top because they don't deserve to. They're crap."
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caffeinegoddess's picture

According to Brand Republic, "A WPP spokeswoman told Brand Republic that French had offered his resignation, but was still employed by the company. French was not immediately available for comment."

CopyWhore's picture

This is absolute madness.

These comments, no doubt, have been taken out-of-context and most of the PC facist reactionaries who've been out lynch him since weren't even present at the speech.

If he leaves WPP, it's not only a huge loss for the creatives who work at WPP shops, it's a triumph of censorship of the worst, most insidious variety -- the kind that seeks to punish unpopular views, PC or not.

Worse yet is that anyone who speaks up to defend him is then taken to be a "sympathizer" and lynched as well. I've already found myself in heated debates in my own creative department for chalking the comments up to irony and hyperbole. (Two literary devices, mind you, employed by many a talented copywriter.)

In the end, Neil should be remembered for his talent, bravado, and charisma which have influenced creatives the world over and helped them aim higher as practitioners of this dubious craft.

Reactionaries be assured: the real sexists out there aren't the ones making sarcastic comments in public forums; they're the people who silently and furtively use their power to oppress others.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Adage.com got an interview with Mr. French.

What do you make of how the Toronto remarks have been interpreted?
It

AnonymousCoward's picture

While adchurn is great fodder for us otherwise bored and hungry ad-dicts, Mr. French has to know that public figures are suseptible to scrutiny in all forms. Make a dicey remark in front
of alot of people and the press and you hang yourself out to dry. He apparently couldn't care less.
IMHO, there are great creative people, men and women. The sad truth about salary discrepencies is regretable and more exposure on the subject the better. Let's embarrass and challenge and
make a stink as much as is humanly possible. I worked for a ballsy and brilliant female
creative director, in fact more than one, during a stint at a major NYC agency in the 80's. Everybody talked more about her than anyone. Is that a bad thing?
They speculated about who she slept with to get where she was and most of that was just jealousy.
The worst offenses throughout the 25+ years I've been in this business are of agism not sexism. Though the latter runs an obscenely close second. I take comfort in knowing that we've moved ahead slowly from being sexually assaulted in the hallway of a multi-national ad agency (which I persoanally was by a managment supervisor on a big car account, or spoken to in only X-rated
sexist lingo-which I was every day by my first boss, a head of production at the same agency,
or told to show my legs to an art director who was conducting a perfunctory audition for a pantyhose ad, to being publiclly offended by the off-color remarks of an obvious media hound.
The End.