Political correctness gone berserk. That is my reaction to the news that the Chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi has been asked to go on leave for remarks reported as below in FT:
The media industry has been rocked by its third sexism furore in months after Kevin Roberts, the chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi and “head coach” at parent group Publicis, was asked to take a leave of absence for saying women employees did not have “vertical ambition”.
Mr Roberts said the gender debate in advertising was over. “I don’t think [the lack of women in leadership roles] is a problem,” he told Business Insider. “I’m just not worried about it because they are very happy, they’re very successful, and doing great work.”
He added: “I can’t talk about sexual discrimination because we’ve never had that problem, thank goodness.”
Publicis said Mr Roberts had been asked to take a leave of absence due to the “gravity” of his remarks, adding it would “not tolerate anyone speaking for our organisation who does not value the importance of inclusion”.[Link]
The industry thrives for the most part on sexist portrayal of women. Hence, the reaction to his largely ‘matter-of-fact’ remarks is nothing but exaggerated political correctness that is typical of the times we live in.
Even though many women do not want to be hired for the sake of them being women, such over-reactions would end up precisely achieving only that. Political correctness need not be the enemy of merit but in reality, its champions make it one.
Mischievously but unsurprisingly, the FT has strung this news together with other cases of more explicit sexual harassment of women. Those are completely different where no defence of the conduct could be mounted. To club these remarks with them tantamounts to casting aspersions on CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi. That is improper.