‘What the fuck are u thinking?’: Cindy Gallop blasts Leo Burnett Sydney’s white male hires

Prominent equality campaigner and former senior BBH executive Cindy Gallop has called out the Sydney office of Leo Burnett on Twitter after the agency trumpeted its hire of five new creatives who were all white men.

Gallop, who is the founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn, tweeted “@leoburnettsyd it’s 2015…’What the fuck are u thinking?'” with a link to the release on Mumbrella’s Australian site.

cindy gallop what the fuck are you thinking

It was one of four tweets on the subject from Gallop, which followed the agency sending out a press release welcoming its five new senior creatives – creative directors Malcolm Caldwell, Ian Broekhuizen and Mel Du Toit and creative group heads Nigel Clark and Adrian Ely.

The release was also accompanied by an image of the five new recruits with Leo Burnett’s executive creative directors Vince Lagana and Grant McAloon.

Front row - Grant McAloon 2nd row - Vince Lagana, Malcolm Caldwell, Ian Broekhuizen, Nigel Clark 3rd row - Mel Du Toit, Adrian Ely

Front row – Grant McAloon; 2nd row – Vince Lagana, Malcolm Caldwell, Ian Broekhuizen, Nigel Clark; 3rd row – Mel Du Toit, Adrian Ely

The tweets came after criticism of the move on the Mumbrella comment thread on the article, which Gallop also praised saying: “@leoburnettsyd hires five white guys…The comments give them hell.”

cindy gallop leos give them hell

Among the comments on Mumbrella’s Australian site were:

When will agencies learn that promoting the fact they’ve hired five men for five senior creative roles is not a good look to PR.

Another poster in the comment thread wrote:

Nice to see white men FINALLY getting opportunities. Given men make up only 97% of CDs this is a bold move from Leos.

Leo Burnett, which initially did not comment on the matter, took to Twitter a day later to defend itself.

LB on Twitter

In a series of tweets from its account the agency tried to push its number of female staff, saying 45 per cent of its management team in Sydney are women and 50 per cent of the agency is female.

The day before, Gallop had tweeted a link to her keynote at the 3% Conference this year telling the agency to “have your entire agency watch this”.
Cindy Gallop have your agencies wathc this leo burnett

In the talk she tells agencies who say they could not find women: “If you couldn’t find any, you don’t really want any. You don’t want any enough to go digging, do your research, talk to everyone you could to find brilliant women.”

The “What the fuck are u thinking” tweet was also a quote from this talk.

Gallop rose to industry prominence in the 90s when she started BBH’s Singapore and New York offices. She made global headlines in 2009 when she gave a four minute TED talk launching the MakeLoveNotPorn initiative which aims to get more realistic information about the human body and sex into the world, as opposed to people learning from pornography.

She is also an outspoken critic of the gender imbalance prevalent in ad agencies across the world.

Alex Hayes


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