Ad agency fears media feeding frenzy if ex-CEO video is released
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK, March 30 (Reuters) - J. Walter Thompson urged a federal judge not to make public a video purporting to show its recently replaced chief executive making sexist and racist slurs, saying it would fan a media feeding frenzy surrounding the case and his abrupt departure.
The ad agency made its request on Tuesday night in Manhattan federal court, 12 days after JWT, a unit of Britain's WPP Plc , announced the resignation of Gustavo Martinez as chief executive.
Martinez was replaced one week after being accused in a lawsuit of unprofessional behavior by Erin Johnson, JWT's chief communications officer.
Anne Vladeck, a lawyer for Johnson, did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.
According to Johnson's amended complaint, the video purports to show Martinez talking to JWT employees last May at the Viceroy hotel in Miami, soon after a nightclub party there attended by many African-Americans.
Martinez allegedly said he had found "different and strange characters in the elevator" and thought he was "going to be raped at the elevator," and that JWT employees should "check all your luggage" as a precaution while at the hotel.
But JWT said Johnson "completely distorted" the comments, which in context and given Martinez's "lack of command of the English language" showed an effort to "alleviate the significant tension" that employees felt after the party, which featured "unruly" behavior and attracted several police cars.
JWT also said Martinez had spoken after a senior female JWT executive had reported her luggage stolen from her hotel room, before learning later that hotel staff removed it by mistake. Continuación...