SAG-AFTRA has labeled Sarah Watson as “Hypocrite of the Week” in its ongoing strike against the Bartle Bogle Hegarty ad agency. Watson, BBH’s chief strategy officer and New York chairman, also serves on the steering committee of Time’s Up Advertising, a movement to fight sexual harassment in the advertising industry.
“Watson helps steer Time’s Up Advertising and has publicly spoken out about fairness and social justice, but the agency she leads is illegally attempting to withdraw from its commitment to the professional talent that helped build their company,” the union said in a statement today. “No way, Sarah. Keep your word, BBH, and honor your agreement.
SAG-AFTRA struck BBH on September 20 after the ad agency decided that it would not renew its signatory status with the union. “You don’t get to tell the world that you are an ethical company doing business in an ethical way and then walk out on your contractual obligations to your longtime partners,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said. “BBH is illegally attempting to withdraw from our contract, claiming that it hinders their ability to ‘deliver the greatest level of flexibility and value for their work.’”
The ad agency has said it is “hired to operate in the best interests of our clients, and part of that is being able to deliver the greatest level of flexibility and value for the work we do. We are simply looking to level the playing field for all of us. The current contract was put in place nearly 20 years ago, when the Internet was in its infancy and the advertising world was a vastly different place, with vastly different economics.”
Carteris, however, said that BBH well knows that the union offers “tailored agreements that provide flexibility and give producers the tools they need to hire the best union talent within competitive budgets. BBH is simply trying to walk out on their commitment to provide working actors with fair pay, benefits and a safe workplace. SAG-AFTRA actors know the truth and we are committed to shining a bright public light on BBH’s doubletalk and hypocrisy.”
SAG-AFTRA says it intends to keep up its “Hypocrite of the Week” campaign, calling out BBH’s top leadership on a regular basis, until the strike is settled.