A major U.S. advertising agency has experienced a major shakeup as its CEO was ousted over a racially insensitive email.
Campbell Ewald‘s CEO Jim Palmer was fired a mere two days after AdWeek reported on an email sent by a white employee of the firm, identified by AdWeek as executive creative director Jim Houck, sent an email in October 2015 encouraging other employees to participate in a company-wide “Ghetto Day.”
“Also please share with the teams that today is officially Ghetto Day in the SA, and we’re inviting our Big D homeb—–s to cycle in and pop a freak with us. Ghetto music, Malt 45s at lunch, and of course, drugs and prostitution are legal all day until close of business. Word, my cerebral gangsters,” the email read.
— Adweek (@Adweek) January 28, 2016
A picture of two black men posing on a litter filled urban street was attached to the email.
— agencyspy (@AgencySpy) January 26, 2016
“This email is in no way reflective of who we are as an agency and what we stand for. We addressed this matter very seriously when it happened back in October. To those that were hurt and offended by this language, we sincerely apologize,” Palmer wrote in a statement after the email was discovered.
Houck was fired the following day, according to AdWeek, and Palmer followed him out the door a day later.
Kevin Wertz, the agency’s President, was named the new CEO in a statement released by the agency on Friday.
He’ll have his work cut out for him in the PR department.
United Services Automobile Association, a financial firm that caters to American veterans, announced it was terminating its relationship with the agency.
“USAA has given Campbell Ewald notice of contract termination,” public affairs director Roger Wildermuth said in a statement. “We will be searching for a new agency that aligns with USAA’s culture and core values.”
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