Christophe Coffre, the creative director of Havas Paris, one of the biggest French communication agencies, was laid off on Tuesday May 17 by the Havas group after the publication of an accusation evoking a sexual assault, according to an internal email seen by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Mr. Coffre had been targeted, for several weeks, by a series of anonymous testimonies published on the Instagram account “Balance your agency” which denounce acts of harassment. He had started, at the beginning of May, “withdrawn”as well as the CEO of the agency, Julien Carette, the time of an audit by an external firm.
In this message sent Tuesday afternoon to the employees of the agency, the management of the Havas group says it has “decided his interim layoff, with immediate effect”after knowing “of an allegation of sexual assault” concerning him.
“The group specifies that it has never had knowledge, at any time whatsoever, of facts of such a nature” before, and have them “immediately reported to the ASW firm appointed on May 4th”according to this document.
According to this testimony published Monday in story (format whose lifespan is limited to 24 hours), a former “creative” recount “having repelled, for several years, sexual and moral harassment and violent assaults” of the leader, “to the point that we fought physically” in his office. “He threatened to destroy my fledgling career and that I would never be able to work in this industry again if I didn’t give in. »
Suspension of the employment contract and remuneration
Twenty anonymous testimonies were published by the account “Balance your agency”, which for almost a week has denounced the long-standing sexist atmosphere within the agency and implicates these two officials. At the helm for ten years of the agency, of which they are now co-presidents, the two men are accused of having sought to ” to kiss “ Where ” to touch “, on many occasions, employees, sometimes trainees, in the premises of Havas Paris or during external events.
“JC is a brilliant guy, but he has the sexuality of a teenager. (…) Under cover of being drunk, after two drinks, he jumps on anything that moves. Same for DC [directeur de création] of Havas Events. I remember to warn interns not to approach them during agency evenings »according to one of these testimonies.
“Comments on all the clothes, hands on the shoulder and the waist, kisses very close to the mouth, I avoided him and only feared one thing, finding myself face to face with him”, says one of his former collaborators about Christophe Coffre. Others remember, about him, a gesture simulating a sexual act and inappropriate remarks.
The Havas Paris agency had confirmed, at the beginning of May, the “withdrawn” from their duties of its two co-presidents, who nevertheless continued to work for their clients. The layoff of Mr. Coffre means, this time, the suspension of the employment contract and the remuneration.
Contacted, the Havas Paris agency and the Havas group made no comment.
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