Court OKs subpoenas to unmask anonymous individuals behind Diet Madison Avenue

Diet-Madion-Ave-Watson.jpg
Ad Age in the US reports that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner has signed an order allowing the legal team for former CP&B Boulder Chief Creative Officer Ralph Watson to serve business record subpoenas to Instagram, its parent Facebook and Gmail (part of Alphabet-owned Google) to provide identifying information about the anonymous individuals behind Instagram page Diet Madison Avenue.

The judge's action is the latest development in a suit filed by Watson in May, claiming defamatory statements posted to the account led to his wrongful termination from the agency. DMA has taken aim at some of the biggest names in advertising with a goal of exposing sexual harassment and discrimination at ad agencies.
Following the lawsuit against it in late May, Diet Madison Avenue launched a GoFundMe page for its legal expenses, with a goal of raising $100,000. As of Thursday, it had raised $1,970.

The lawsuit states that the plaintiff believes the DMA account is run by at least 17 individuals "with assistance from at least another 42 individuals." The suit cites Instagram's privacy policy, which states the platform may access, preserve and share a user's information in response to a legal request or when Instagram believes that is necessary to detect, prevent and address fraud and other illegal activity.

14 Comments

TK said:

Really....no comments on THIS?

Kangaroo Court said:

The Crime of the Century

In January 2018 Ted Royer, Chief Creative Officer of New York advertising agency Droga 5, was sacked. No explanation was given by Droga 5 other than that: ‘We are committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees’. His exit was surprising not just because he was David Droga’s key lieutenant and one of the best creatives of his generation, but also because myself, and everyone I have ever talked to, thought he was a decent guy.

Being thought of as ‘decent’, of course, doesn’t mean you’re not capable of wrongdoing, so to be clear, I’m not defending Ted. I can’t, because I don’t know what he’s accused off, let alone whether he’s guilty or not.

And I think that’s a problem.

Let’s assume that there’s no smoke without fire and Ted is guilty of something like ‘an attempted use of his position to try and take advantage of another person’. To most people that’s wrong, immoral, and Droga 5 were quite right to take the action they did.

But presumably what Ted has been accused of is not a crime. If it was, Droga 5 would have called the police to investigate, not an ‘outside firm’. Ted (and his family) is being punished, not only by losing his job, but in the current climate he will struggle to find a comparable one. Which potential employee would arouse the ire of its female staff, as well as a chunk of the nation’s press, in order to hire such a pariah, however talented he may be?

So, someone who has committed no crime is, at least temporarily, prevented from working again in his chosen profession. Does that punishment really fit?

If we, as a reasonable people, believe that impropriety at work (or anywhere else) is a criminal act, then we need to declare it to be such. In that way, the definitions would be clear (well, as clear as the law is capable) everyone would know where they stood, and the suspects, once found guilty would be treated as a criminal with resulting penalties.

If we’re going to clear this mess up, let’s take a deep breath and do it properly rather than through kangaroo courts and innuendo that wreck lives through moral indignity rather than due process.

Sic em Rex said:

That $1,970 isn't going to stop 60 people from getting their arses right royally sued.

Troll hunting said:

They should have nothing to worry about then if they’re actually legit should they? If not That $1,970 should be enough to buy them all greyhound bus tickets over the border.

Tables turned said:

From keyboard warriors to worriers.

It's been fun, advertising said:

When this business is more about office politics than ideas, it's truly dead.

Change the ratio.
Diet madison avenue.
Backstabbing colleagues / snarky rivals
Bitching on blogs

It's the pits. I'm out.

Tough times ahead said:

The Australians involved in DMA must be shitting themselves.

And those that sent accusations about others to DMA, can expect that to come out in due course too.

The ramifications of this order go far beyond Watson’s accusers

Wrong industry said:

Its an industry built on rebellion and disruption, so people expect people to feel uncomfortable and that’s not ok.

I have friends who are accountants, lawyers, even my friends who work at clients, would never stand for some of the language, jokes or behaviour I see in our workplace. The time has come to make sure every single person can do their job without feeling uncomfortable. The government should step in if agencies can’t fix it themselves.

@Wrong industry said:

You’re wrong. People should feel uncomfortable, but in the right way. Uncomfortable about pushing the boat out. Doing something brave and bold. Hearing the F word from time to time. Ok, most of the time.

It’s turning into a fucking preschool and while everyone is screaming, nobody is checking their copy, making sure they’re on message or caring the slightest for craft.

Tis turned to a piece of crap.

Bloke said:

@Kangaroo Court:

I hear what you're saying, the law should serve to protect the victims and treat both sides fairly. You're absolutely right.

But how has that worked out for Erin Johnson in her case against Gustavo Martinez? Two years in court against someone far more powerful and wealthy.

Try that course of action as a disposable junior creative.

What about the victims of the Catholic church? The law took a while to step in there.
The girl at my Mother's school who was interfered with and sent away while the teacher remained?
Or the 'summer menu interns' in the New Zealand legal practices.

In light of other loveable, good-natured blokes like Rolf Harris etc being found out, it wouldn't be a shock if there were more than a few advertising creative directors up to the same tricks. Powerful, in control of young people's futures, robust ego, boozing culture, females in the minority, it's all there. The perfect setup. Employees are also laid off or 'let go' all the time for conduct violation without anyone pressing criminal charges.

I've never seen this kind of thing myself, but why would I? I don't expect there were many senior male colleagues in Weinstein's hotel room when he was 'watering' that pot plant.

If we swapped Diet Madison Avenue for some Pakistani activists outing sweatshop owners on Instagram we'd be all over it. We'd even make a really compelling award entry video .

But when it's a mate, and many signs point to a lot of people getting hurt, it stings.

Perhaps crude justice has already been served and for some who've been affected, that's far better than no justice at all.

Other bloke said:

@Bloke.

Yes, thats all fine IF they did it. But what if its an innocent person? You're conflating two points.

Bloke said:

I'm suggesting that maybe this whole thing is rigged up to protect powerful people and when enough victims have had enough of not knowing what to do, then this is exactly what happens.

What's worse? One innocent CD down the toilet or hundreds of young creatives never getting a taste of justice for the abuse they suffered? Nothing's perfect. We've had it one way for however many years, now we're getting a taste of it working the other way.

One Innocent CD said:

Good on Ralph. He knows what he did or didn't do and obviously believes he has been wrongly accused. His career and reputation as a human are fucked. Everyone looks at his and thinks he's disgusting. Like him, if I was the innocent CD who happened to be collateral damage, I'd be doing what he's doing and taking every last cent of my accusers for getting it wrong. This isn't about anyone other than Ralph. I hope he makes squillions.

Career change said:

This business has become a PC pile of shit. The aussies who fanned this kangaroo court had better get their arses down to Centrelink or become social media managers or some bullshit like that because they are roadkill

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