By now you would have to be living under a rock if you weren’t aware of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the famous hashtag which continues to gain traction. Hollywood has gotten the attention of what permeates several workplaces even to this day. It ran rampant, as many women will attest to (including me) when I began my career 40 years ago. All one has to do is watch one episode of Mad Men to understand what women had to deal with in the advertising and media world. It is also important to note that it is not just women who have been faced with harassment, but men who have faced this level of objectivity too.
In the first few years of Fruchtman Marketing’s existence, I have faced everything from a large client directly asking me to sleep with him over a client lunch, to another large client telling me he’s “Jewing me down”. Another large corporate client asked for a “private meeting” with our 25-year-old designer to discuss his corporate brochure layout. Only to blatantly ask her for sex and remind her without complying, she would be responsible for losing the company his account. This gentleman was a “respected” member of our local Jewish community, who our family knew very well. Imagine that chutzpah? And, worse yet, the owner of the largest media company (at its time) in Toledo also told me in front of his COO, that he felt it “difficult to work with strong Jewish women” and because of that, it might be best we don’t continue working together. I kid you not. His COO called me thirty minutes after I left to ask me not to file a lawsuit. Suffice to say, we resigned all of three of the accounts mentioned and the last we lost because I was a Jewish woman. Discrimination in the workplace is equally unacceptable.
Sadly, the jewelry industry cannot lay claim to its innocence. We’re all well-aware of the sexual harassment class-action case filed in 2008 against Sterling (with declarations from roughly 250 women), currently in arbitration with the hearing slated for early 2018. Whether Sterling is guilty or not of these practices remains to be seen. And, in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. But, we all also know how prevalent this is in companies across the country. We also know where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
What we are all witnessing is a female movement the likes of which I haven’t seen since I was burning my bra. It’s the type of marketing campaign that is taking viral to a new level. The jewelry industry, which by and large is targeted to women, has an opportunity to do something big. To stand up as a community and support the effort. To raise dollars for assault and harassment victims.
Time to turn #MeToo into #NotOnMyWatch