‘Enough is enough’: ad execs issue declaration to tackle sexual misconduct in the industry

An anonymous group of advertising executives have issued a declaration that seeks to hold men in the industry accountable for sexual abuse and harassment.

The polemic has been shared across social media with the caption ‘enough is enough’ and warns abusers working within the industry that their names are known, and that if their behavior continues claims will “escalate to the police”.

15 years after #MeToo was first adopted on social media to discuss sexual abuse and harassment, women in the advertising industry are once again sharing their experiences after Zoe Scaman published a powerful piece on Substack detailing the extent of the issue.

The article, titled Mad Men. Furious Woman, outlines Scaman’s own experiences of harassment, as well as harrowing stories shared by others, and criticizes the industry at large for not doing enough to stamp out abusive behavior from its culture.

The anonymous statement, which Scaman helped author, also acknowledges the limitations non-disclosure agreements put on women who may wish to speak out against their abusers and the failures of HR and management to adequately address grievances.

The Drum has been told that the statement has been written “by and for the people of the industry who have been let down up until now – now they are taking back control, drawing a line in the sand and saying enough’s enough”.

Read the declaration in full below.

This is the moment you never wanted to come.

The line in the sand you never thought anyone would draw.

The chorus of people rising, one by one

Each saying, ‘No more’.

No more will we let you get away with your behaviour.

No more will we bury the stories and suffer in silence.

No more will we let you hide behind your wives and your daughters.

No more will we accept your online virtue signaling as a sign you’ve changed.

No more will we let you be heralded as CEO’s, founders, ECD’s and leaders of this industry.

Moving forward your reputations will be forever scarred.

As we are.

If you are worried your name has been shared—it has.

If you are worried people are talking about you—they are.

And a lot of us have receipts.

Your NDA’s may protect you for now.

And the law may be on your side.

But what is not, is us.

The people you have hurt. Degraded. Fired. Assaulted. Raped.

You may not believe that happens here.

But it does.

All. The. Time.

You and the people put in place to protect you have just made those stories disappear.

You have all persuaded yourselves that it’s “not that bad.”

But who gets to decide what is good and bad?

Who gets to decide what is right and wrong?

Who gets to play judge and jury?

It was you.

But now it’s us.

We have recognised that Management teams and HR departments protect businesses.

So, from now on, we will protect ourselves.

We will have a zero tolerance approach.

We won’t escalate internally.

We’ll escalate to the police.

We won’t sign your silencing documents.

We’ll shout your names from the rooftops.

We won’t cower under your threats of reprisal.

We’ll stand tall with an army at our backs.

We won’t take your money to stay quiet.

From now on, there’s no price you can pay to keep our mouths shut.

While we may not be able to hold you accountable for your actions of the past

We can hold you accountable for your actions today and tomorrow.

Think of this as your point of reckoning.

A moment in time where you have a choice to make.

To hold yourself and your behaviour accountable.

To learn and grow and change.

Or to keep doing what you are doing

And to push against the turning of the tide.

But trust us when we say, if you do, we will pull you under.

Because now you won’t be able to squash one person and their experience

You’ll have to take on us all.

You ignored Times Up and Me Too, narrowly, and laughed about it in bars (yes, we know).

But you should be more scared of this.

Now you won’t even get away with so much as a stray wink.

Good luck out there.

Accountability is a bitch.

And now all eyes are on you.