Tuesday, November 26, 2013

11600: C’MON WHITE MAN! Episode 34.

(MultiCultClassics credits ESPN’s C’MON MAN! for sparking this semi-regular blog series.)

The refusal of Omnicom and Publicis Groupe to reveal their hiring trends per the repeated requests of New York City Comptroller John Liu is disturbing—especially the way that Omnicom President and CEO John Wren has responded.

When Liu made another inquiry last April, the official Omnicom reply included the following:

“We do not believe that disclosing [the EEOC information] will meaningfully further the goal of workplace diversity. To the contrary, this information, which is susceptible to misinterpretation, could be manipulated by those with interests adverse to Omnicom’s and harm the company.”

Omnicom Chief Diversity Officer Tiffany R. Warren also spoke with Advertising Age and parroted her bosses’ position, adding that the company would “release a national report outlining some of its results in the diversity space” later in the year. Regarding the report, Ad Age wrote the following:

“[Our report] is a national project, not local to New York City,” [Warren] said. It will “talk about how internal and external outreach has been” in addition to quantitative achievements regarding the agencies’ efforts in “bringing in and hiring, and also retaining diverse employees, as well as women.”

Okey-doke. Technically, the year is not yet over, so Omnicom still has about a month to unveil the report. But in case the company seeks to delay sharing the truth—particularly in light of the impending Omnicom-Publicis Groupe merger—any criticism must fall squarely on the shoulders of Wren. He can’t ignore Liu as he ignored Bob Garfield’s 2008 open letter accusing Omnicom of displaying homophobia.

After all, Wren launched a Diversity Development Advisory Committee in 2007. He has approved millions of dollars toward scholarships and diversity programs. Wren hired Warren as the holding company’s Chief Diversity Officer. And he was named a Pioneer of Diversity by the AAF.

Given the man’s unprecedented diversity achievements, how could it possibly harm Omnicom to comply with Liu’s call to action?


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