Last weekend, disgraced former CCO of Droga5 Ted Royer stepped on to the stage in Las Vegas to take part in The London International Award's Creative Liaisons programme. Many in the audience were aghast because the organisers of the event had not given them any advance notice of Royer's participation. In short, the audience hadn't given their consent to listen to his ill-advised attempt to rehabilitate his reputation.
Neither the LIA or Royer himself have made themselves available to comment on the angry reaction provoked by his impromptu appearance. Given the reluctance to justify their ill judged decision, it's reasonable to fill the vacuum with speculation: it's pretty obvious that they kept Royer's participation secret because they knew it would offend many of those there, and prompt a walkout.
Among the apologists are those who feel it's important to hear from those – like Royer – who lost their jobs because of inappropriate behaviour. Parking to one side this questionable assertion, what cannot be disputed is the complete inappropriateness of offering someone like Royer a platform without giving a captive audience the opportunity to decide whether or not they want to listen to what he has to say.
To their enormous credit, FCB have joined the Time's Up movement in breaking their connection with the LIA in response to this tone deaf decision.
Those hoping that the advertising industry can become an environment where women feel safe from harassment and other forms of inappropriate behaviour will be feeling profoundly defeated. No one sensible wants this situation to become any more adversarial than it already is but if you want to see it in those terms and you feel you have to pick a side then – in the name of Christ – get behind the people who have endured harassment, rather than those licking their wounds after losing lucrative senior positions for being odiously lecherous.