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JWT CEO denies suit’s allegations of rape and racist jokes

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JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez denied allegations of rapping female employees, and multiple racist comments about black people and Jews.

“I am aware of the allegations made against me by a J. Walter Thompson employee in a suit filed in New York Federal Court,” he said. “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.”

Chief communications officer Erin Johnson for J. Walter Thompson has filed a discrimination suit in the New York Federal court, claiming that JWT CEO Gustavo Martinez made a series of jokes about raping female colleagues and mocking minorities – Reported in The New York Post yesterday.

The lawsuit by Johnson alleges that Martinez joked about having sex with her on multiple occasions and that he suggested a female agency executive should be “raped into submission”.

Also, Johnson claims in her lawsuit that Gustavo Martinez made multiple racist comments about black people and Jews, telling employees on a lunch break that he didn’t like living in New York’s Westchester County because it has “too many Jews” and that he would avoid “black monkeys” when going through airport security on business trips.

The suit also claims that when Johnson reported Martinez’s behavior to executives at JWT and WPP, he responded by slashing her bonuses and excluding her from office meetings.

Gustavo Martinez joined JWT from IPG’s McCann in 2014 and became CEO in 2015.

jwt ceo, GUSTO MARTINEZ, Chairman & CEO, Worldwide, J. Walter Thompson
Gusto Martinez

Martinez joined J. Walter Thompson Company from McCann, where he was President, Europe and Asia. Prior to McCann, Martinez spent 10 years at Ogilvy & Mather in multiple senior management positions, including Global Director of Brand Management, Global New Business Director and Chief Operating Officer, Ogilvy Latina, among others. Martinez’s career began in Henkel Ibérica. Prior to that, he was with PWC as Manager of the Strategic Consulting department. He began working in advertising in 1993.

erin Johnson JWT
Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson joined J. Walter Thompson as director of corporate communications in New York in 2005 and was promoted to the global role in 2008.

Johnson joined JWT from the Kaplan Thaler Group in New York, where she was Director, KTG Buzz. Prior to that, Johnson spent six years as Director of Corporate Communications for kirshenbaum bond + partners. Johnson began her career in the publicity department at Miramax.