The head of a major international advertising agency made crude anti-Semitic remarks, racist comments, and jokes about raping female colleagues, an employee’s lawsuit alleges.
Gustavo Martinez, CEO of J. Walter Thompson, allegedly called African American airport workers "black monkeys" and "apes" and said he does not like living in Westchester County, in suburban New York, because he "hates those f***ing Jews" and “too many Jews” reside there.
Martinez also referred to the chief communications officer at a competing advertising firm, McCann Erickson, as “the Jew” who knows how to “work” the press.
The lawsuit against Martinez was filed by Erin Johnson, the agency’s chief communications officer, who claims Martinez told her he wanted to "rape her in the bathroom" and grabbed her by the throat while laughing, according to a report by the New York Post.
Johnson said she complained about her boss to JWT and its parent company WPP (Wire and Plastic Products), and Martinez retaliated by cutting her bonus and leaving her out of executive meetings.
Martinez denied the claims: “I am aware of the allegations made against me by a J. Walter Thompson employee in a suit filed in New York Federal Court. I want to assure our clients and my colleagues that there is absolutely no truth to these outlandish allegations and I am confident that this will be proven in court.”
JWT's clients include Macy's, Rolex, the U.S. Marine Corps, Shell, Revlon, Johnson & Johnson, Puma and Ford.