The creative director of Havas Paris, one of the largest French communication agencies, was laid off on Tuesday by the Havas group, a subsidiary of Vivendi. This layoff follows an accusation evoking a sexual assault, according to an internal email consulted by AFP.
Christophe Coffre had been targeted for several weeks by a series of anonymous testimonies published on the Instagram account “Balance your Agency” (BTA) which denounce acts of harassment. He had put himself in early May “withdrawn”, as well as the CEO of the agency Julien Carette, the time of an audit by an outside firm.
In this message sent this Tuesday afternoon to the employees of the agency, the management of the Havas group indicates that it has “decided to suspend it, with immediate effect”, after having learned of “an allegation of sexual assault” concerning him. “The group specifies that it has never been aware, at any time whatsoever, of facts of this nature” before, and that it “immediately reported them to the ASW firm appointed on May 4”, according to this document.
Sexual and moral harassment and violent assaults
According to this new testimony, a former “creative” says “having repelled for several years the sexual and moral harassment and the violent attacks” of the leader, “to the point that we fought physically” in his office. “He threatened to destroy my budding career and that I would never be able to work in this environment again if I did not give in,” she continues.
Caught up by the MeToo wave, the famous Havas Paris agency had confirmed in early May the “withdrawal” from their functions of its two co-presidents, who however continued to work for their clients. The layoff of Christophe Coffre means this time the suspension of the employment contract and the remuneration.