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Publicis Communications chief Arthur Sadoun joins condemnation of Kevin Roberts' controversial gender debate comments


By Stephen Lepitak, -

July 30, 2016 | 3 min read

Publicis Communications chief executive Arthur Sadoun has joined the chorus of condemnation within his company for the statements made by Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Kevin Roberts that the gender debate within the advertising industry was ‘done’.

Arthur Sadoun

Arthur Sadoun

In an email circulated within Publicis Communications and seen by The Drum, Sadoun echoed the words of Maurice Levy in saying that Roberts, who also attacked the work of Cindy Gallop and Kat Gordon in their drive for gender equality, was not speaking for himself or the company when he made the comments.

Sadoun, who oversees the creative companies within Publicis Groupe including Saatchi & Saatchi, also described Robert’s views as “wholly inconsistent” with the beliefs and values of the groupe and also of his own personal beliefs and values.

“Viva la Difference is not a line; it is who we are and how we behave," wrote Sadoun. "I am very proud of being part of the Groupe that is doing so much on gender equality but I acknowledge that we, our industry and business at large are not where we need to be or where we aspire to be. This is an issue of critical importance to the Publicis groupe and we are committed to being a role model. We have much more to do on this issue; it is a priority for me and all of Publicis Groupe leadership,” he continued before describing Roberts’ remarks as “offensive in terms of language and tonality”.

He added: “Behavior like this is simply unacceptable in our Groupe.”

In conclusion to the communications team he said that he was sorry that the comments made “reflected poorly” on the Groupe, before adding: “But what matters is not words on Twitter but acts. So let's continue to act in a way that will make us all proud.”

This evening (30 July) the Groupe issued a statement to reveal that it was placing Roberts on leave while reviewing ‘his standing’ following the outcry that the comments had caused internationally.

At the time of writing Roberts had not publicly commented since the release of the interview.

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