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Pitbull's Advertising Week appearance raises equality questions: 'How about female artists?'


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

September 27, 2019 | 4 min read

The Advertising Week New York wrap party featuring musician Pitbull has been accused of setting back the event's push for gender equality by "objectifying women".


Pitbull's Advertising Week wrap booking raises equality questions: 'How about female artistes?'

Mr Worldwide's performance closed the event on Thursday 26 September at the Webster Hall with tracks including ‘Give Me Everything,’ ‘Timber,’ ‘Time of our Lives’ ‘I Know You Want Me’. He was accompanied onstage with four dancers wearing skimpy outfits performing a routine that included grinding, twerking and more.

The performance was accused of clashing with the motifs of the week's panels aiming to promote diversity and equality in the industry, such as: 'The State of Women's Representation in Advertising', 'Raising the Stories of Women Who Came Before Us,' 'Eyes on 2020: Fearless Female Voices Reshaping Media and Impacting the World'.

Cindy Gallop a former advertising executive who campaigns for age and gender equality in the industry claimed it was the wrong booking for the event.

“Our industry prides itself on its creativity and innovation. When equality, diversity and inclusion are top of mind in the industry, how much creativity and innovation would it have taken to have thought of booking female artistes?," she said.

“Systemic, endemic sexual harassment in our industry is about abuse of power. In an industry that sells first and foremost to female consumers, but continues to be male-dominated, to keep women out of leadership, influence and power (especially in the creative department), and to talk gender equality, diversity and inclusion but spectacularly fail to deliver on it, it is wholly inappropriate to feature a closing Advertising Week musical act that objectifies women. And for anybody leaping to Advertising Week's defense on this front, for the women in our industry, it's not just 'this one thing', it's the cumulative effect of so many things like this.”

Gallop highlighted that the 3PercentConference is calling for men to attend this year, an exact proportion of 29% to be specific, to match the exact percentage of female creative directors in our industry.

"We want to help ensure that every manifestation of our industry reflects the values we want it to have.”

Creative Equals, an inclusive creative movement for positive change across the industry, told The Drum: "Walk the talk, we’d say. There are so many other ways [Advertising Week] could have championed inclusive entertainment but no they had to go for that angle."

The negative feedback was sparked by a video shared by US trade publication AdAge.

The Drum has contacted Advertising Week for comment.

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