Dr Mumbo

The time the agency sex pest didn’t get away with it

If one thing depresses Dr Mumbo about the #MeToo movement’s progress in adland, it’s the fact that, too often, the bad guys are still getting away with it.

But not always.

So Dr Mumbo was somewhat cheered to read an account on Reddit’s ProRevenge section, with rather more justice than usual.

The story begins in 2017, in an ad agency with a three-letter acronym, far, far away. Take it away, anonymous Redditor:

It was one of the biggest ad agencies in my country. It was a global group, but it honestly sucked. It had a game of thrones politics and daily occurrences of both sexual and moral harassment.

I was hired as an account director for a huge ad agency, let’s call it FFC. My account was one of the top 5 accounts in the agency and was worth at least seven digits.

My boss, the accounts vice president, was one of the worst human beings I have ever met. He was sexist, rude and liked to play favorites. When I got there, as a young and okay looking woman, I instantly became one of his faves. He was married, by the way.

One day we left a happy hour together and he offered me a ride. I lived nearby him, so not overthinking it, I accepted. He made a move on me. I politely refused, and left the car.

After that, my life became a living hell. He would not include me in important meetings and then complain I didn’t know things that were discussed.

My reviews went from five stars to one.

He pretended he didn’t remember a raise he had promised.

He would talk with my team and ignore me.

The work, which was already hard (I worked 80 hours a week), became unbearable.

I almost quit.

I had a long conversation with the agency HR, which went nowhere, because she was his personal friend. I even escalated it to the president, with whom I had a friendly relationship, and he said I was reading too much into things.

One thing I did right though is that I had a great relationship with my client, so they were afraid to fire me. I had helped save the account, which was almost lost when I was hired.

So, they played a smart hand. They hired a girl who had worked with my client at his previous company, with whom he had a friendly relationship with, to replace me.

They then put me aside on a smaller account, which was on the verge of being lost, so they could justify firing me when that happened.

But then I got lucky.

My original Client got promoted and opened a marketing manager position under him.

When I applied, he even skipped a few hiring steps. This was October, and I was to start on January. I asked him not to disclose to the agency he had hired me until I had the chance to tell them myself.

The position would not work directly with the ad agency and I no longer managed their account, so there was no conflict of interest and he said okay.

I was planning on giving them my one month notice (required in my country) in November, so they could have time to find someone else.

I was fired on October 31. It would have been the worst experience in the world if I cared.

The VP asked me into his office to fire me.

He said no one would believe me, that I would never find another job in the market, that I had ratted him out to HR, and all the worst things someone could have said. He sent me to HR to sign some papers and told me to leave the building afterwards.

I recorded him.

When I went to HR, the woman in charge sat me down and kept making snarky comments about me not appreciating working in one of the biggest ad agencies in the world, that I could have been great. It was surreal.

Being fired in my country grants people a fair amount of money. I would have received around five months pay as per the law. She wanted me to sign papers accepting that.

I said no. And played her the record from the VP.

She went pale because she knew that was a lawsuit – and also that the global team would not like it at all.

I left that day and said I would contact them through my lawyer. I never said anything about the job lined up.

The next week I, my lawyer, my recording and a bunch of other documents (emails, text messages), sat down with the agency to negotiate.

I ended up with over 15 months pay.

I then took a two month vacation.

Come January and I start at my new job. My new boss then tells me that, since I was the one with the most experience in advertising agencies, I would be a consultant on the annual agency deals.

This included allowing new agencies to pitch for us.

My boss, who didn’t deal with FFC anymore, forgot to tell them about me. No feeling in the world was better than entering the agency as a client.

It was almost orgasmic sitting in a meeting to see their pitch and watching the VP’s dumbstruck face when he entered the room.

I was nothing but nice, asked pertinent questions and smiled all the way through.

I ended up telling my new boss what had happened. He authorized me to advise against retaining the agency, and said that if compliance knew about the agency’s behavior they would lose the account anyway.

They lost the account.

They lost three other accounts in that same year.

The whole leadership was fired.

The agency closed earlier this year.

The VP can’t find a job.

And I just got promoted.

Dr Mumbo loves a happy ending.


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