Sean Cummins: Hate comment on industry blogs made me think about topping myself

sean_cumminsHigh profile creative Sean Cummins has said that he contemplated suicide and turned to drink over malicious comments made about him on industry blogs.

In an interview with today’s edition of the Weekend Australian Magazine, Cummins – who now heads up Cummins Ross – says he became a target after the multi-award winning Best Job In The World campaign for Tourism Queensland. The campaign by his previous agency Cummins Nitro became one of the most internationally awarded of all time.

Cummins said in the article: “That was when the vitriol started pouring in, all anonymous, on industry blogs. Everything from ‘he’s a bastard to work for’ to suggestions that I hadn’t done the work I’d claimed credit for, to jibes about my personal life and my profile photo.”  

He added: My kids were being taught at school not to cyber-bully and yet here were these professionals out trying to really hurt people by doing exactly that.”

He revealed that one effect of the commentary was to lead to him abusing alcohol. He said: “It was such a personal and outrageous character assassination and the collateral damage was enormous. There was a knock-on effect: when you’re not confident, your creative work suffers because you second guess yourself. Then I dulled the pain by drinking. I was erratic and my mood swings were inexplicable to my wife and family. Then my wife went on the website and she was shattered.”

The article does not disclose which website Cummins was referring to. However the main industry websites that allow anonymous comment are Campaign Brief, Mumbrella and to a lesser extend AdNews and B&T. Cummins said:

“Unfortunately, I got to the point where I contemplated topping myself and the ways I might do it. What stopped me was knowing I would leave a lot of people I loved very lost.”

Cummins’ claim to have received a rough ride from industry websites is borne out with a quick search of Google on “Sean Cummins”.

The top article returned by Google on Cummins from Campaign Brief sees the six month old article imply that he was not the creator of the Best Job campaign, saying that description is “interesting”. One comment underneath the article says that Cummins was “not the creator”, while the comment thread also contains an anonymous comment describing Cummins as “a joke”.

The second from top article on Cummins from Mumbrella returned by Google includes a comment thread which was closed for legal reasons after a defamatory comment (which was removed) was posted about Cummins. The incident was one of two that led to comments on Mumbrella being moved from post-moderation to pre-moderation.

And the top article returned from B&T includes a comment saying: “Working with Sean Cummins, probably the worst job in the world, thoughts?”

Cummins will be speaking about his experiences on Tuesday, at the Mumbrella360 conference in a presentation called Cummins vs Anonymous. Tickets have sold out.


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