Saturday, January 26, 2008

5032: Steve Biegel, Ninja Assassin. reported on Friday—along with a hardcore Biegel fan—that a judge nixed the Dentsu motion for a summary judgment, allowing the infamous lawsuit to proceed.

Does this mean Steve Biegel struck like a stealthy ninja to seriously wound his evil Japanese nemesis? Has Biegel Ninja aggressively seized the offensive? Will he now move in to deliver the final death blow?

Um, doubt it.

In the end, the judge’s action may actually prolong Biegel’s agony. The man will likely spend many months and major money to inevitably be told his case sucks.

According to Adweek, “Dentsu in court papers claimed Biegel signed a form when he was hired acknowledging the company’s policy against sexual harassment and only complained about alleged harassment one-and-a-half years after the incidents occurred.” Biegel apparently “does not recall” being schooled on Dentsu’s policy. Plus, he’s supposedly clueless about having received the company rulebook.

Yeah, right. A Madison Avenue veteran forgot his agency’s basic policies and procedures. And he didn’t even think to look for them while responding to sexual harassment and anti-Semitic discrimination. Did Biegel join the business yesterday? Was the ex-creative director ever in a managerial or hiring role? No way should a senior-level agency executive be so ignorant. If he was, well, maybe he deserved to be terminated.

Biegel’s starting to resemble Bill Clinton: “I did not have sexual relations with that Prague prostitute.”

Of course, Biegel still has to prove his charges. He’s presented nothing solid so far. Perhaps he’s holding it all back for the grand showdown.

Um, doubt it.

Sorry, Biegel fan. The judge’s decision does not translate to confirmation that your hero has a legitimate case. In fact, we’ll bet the man ultimately slinks off in silence like a ninja—after experiencing zero success battling Dentsu and its legal team.


Anonymous said...

Leaving aside your incredibly racist comments about "Ninja assasins," I will note the following:

1. You have no legal training, no familiarity with the facts of the case, and you've never read the court file. You rely entirely on snippets from news articles, and then apply to that your incredible pro-Dentsu bias.

2. Had you read the court filings, you would know that Biegel specifically presented evidence that he repeatedly complained about the sexual harassment, and nothing was done in response. He backed up these allegations with sworn statements. Dentsu did not deny anything he said. Thus, contrary to your essay, Biegel's argument was that he did everything he could to complain about this behavior when it was happening, and he received no response. Again, this was undisputed. That's why Dentsu lost the motion.

3. Your claim that Biegel has presented nothing "solid" to support his claims is asserted without any basis. Biegel has presented repeated declarations and other evidence. Dentsu has not presented a single sworn statement from Shigeta or Andree. It is Dentsu that has yet to supply any evidence to support its case.

If you are not on the Dentsu payroll, then your behavior is somewhat obsessive. Three hateful essays in 24 hours about a case where you have no involvement and no familiarity with the facts? Maybe you should get help.

HighJive said...

Steve/Andrew/Biegel Fan,

Gee whiz, make yourself a cup of coffee and breathe in deep.

If you simply click on the “Steve Biegel” tag at the end of this post, you’ll get a better sense of this blog’s pov regarding the fiasco.

First of all, we’ve never claimed having legal expertise. But as Steve Biegel could probably explain, perception and reality often blur in the real world—as well as the advertising world—and perception usually trumps the reality.

Second, no one here is currently double-dipping via Dentsu’s payroll. Come to think of it, no one here is enjoying financial gains at all through the blogging efforts. However, we encourage any monetary donations.

MultiCultClassics’ interest in this fiasco has been primarily linked to the components of discrimination and racism so prevalent on Madison Avenue. There is no Dentsu bias here; however, it’s clear you have a Biegel bias. Whatever.

Based on your statements, you might have a bigger beef with the media outlets reporting on the fiasco, and you should probably spend more time presenting your case via their online comment sections.

That said, let us clarify some previous writings (with the understanding that we never wrote with a legal audience in mind). Also, don’t interpret the length of this commentary to reflect any obsession; rather, it’s just a slow afternoon without NFL action.

You wrote, “Biegel’s argument was that he did everything he could to complain about this behavior when it was happening, and he received no response.” According to the media reports, Dentsu argued Biegel did not utilize the company’s policies and procedures regarding harassment—plus, Biegel claimed he does not recall being apprised of the policies and procedures. If the media reports are accurate, one could argue that Biegel technically did not do “everything he could” to address the behavior when it was happening. As advertising executives with hiring authority will tell you, most big agencies are pretty strict and specific regarding harassment/discrimination policies and procedures. Biegel’s failure to recall does not reflect favorably on him, in our admittedly non-legal opinion.

When we wrote that Biegel has not presented anything solid to date, the intent was not to imply he hasn’t presented anything at all. While we are not legal experts, we do understand that court cases require hard and indisputable evidence in order to succeed. In cases involving discrimination and harassment, the evidence is usually pretty subjective or fuzzy—it’s one person’s word against another’s. Based on the media reports, it appears that this case involves a great deal of subjective opinions on both sides. If Biegel had indisputable evidence, this thing would have been resolved immediately, right? So to be clear, when we wrote there is nothing “solid,” we meant there is nothing indisputable. At least not in the media reports.

Not sure why you insist Dentsu should provide sworn statements from Shigeta and Andree. It’s on Biegel to make his case. Seems like Dentsu can defend their position in whatever manner they see fit. Unless a court and/or laws demand it, Dentsu doesn’t have to produce anything it doesn’t feel like producing—just as Biegel doesn’t have to respond to questions regarding why he waited so long to file his lawsuit or why he allegedly showed copies of the suit to Dentsu clients (the latter act, incidentally, possibly violates any standard confidentiality agreements people at Biegel’s level routinely sign upon landing a Madison Avenue job). Remember too, that this latest round included the judge requesting more information from Biegel. In other words, it wasn’t a clear case on either side. But again, we’re not legal experts.

The judge’s decision to nix Dentsu’s motion was simply a formality. That is, the judge acknowledged there is enough material available to hold a case. But it’s not like the judge weighed in favor of anyone or ruled that Biegel is the winner. As others have made comparisons, Julie Roehm was not denied the opportunity to move forward with her Wal-Mart lawsuit; rather, Roehm claimed to be out of money and energy. These types of fiascos ultimately become wars of will, where the first person to blink (or go bankrupt) loses. At the same time, it’s not completely accurate to position Dentsu as having more/unlimited financial resources. Their lawyers are billing too, affecting the company’s bottom line. As agencies are strongly driven by the accountants, wouldn’t Dentsu have settled if they saw a benefit to doing so? Additionally, if Biegel was not warned of the road ahead when initiating a lawsuit, well, that’s his problem.

Yes, we’re not legal experts. We do, however, have experience and strong opinions in these matters—especially in the areas of discrimination, bias and racism. We could go on about EEOC involvement and actual, indisputable events related to the exclusivity in our industry. But we’ve typed too much in this reply already.

Finally, your insistence that we’ve presented “incredibly racist” and “hateful” statements might be rooted in your misinterpretations. We’ve merely been responding to the many racist perspectives this case has inspired, as well as the media reports as they arrive (which accounts for three posts in 24 hours, as you pointed out).

It’s interesting to note that Biegel supporters have been quick to post rebuttals to any opinion they deem to be wrong or uninformed. Yet they have offered zero condemnations when the Japanese-bashing takes place. Could it be that Biegel’s crew is actually igniting the racism? If so, shame on you.

Again, read the full collection of MultiCultClassics perspectives regarding Biegel and Dentsu, and you might get a better sense of where we’re coming from. Or maybe not. If Biegel was indeed the victim of sexual harassment and faith-based discrimination, and he proves it, we’ll be the first to salute and applaud his victory.

Thanks for visiting and contributing to the discussion.