Jeremy Perrott, the former global chief creative officer of McCann Health who was fired by the network over the summer, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit and is seeking redress in excess of $25 million.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 26 in a U.S. District Court in Virginia, charges McCann WorldGroup and parent Interpublic Group with four counts—defamation, tortious interference with contract, common law conspiracy, and gross negligence. He is seeking compensatory damages of $25 million, along with punitive damages of $350,000.
The 64-page complaint lays out the accusations that led to his dismissal—that he allegedly said to a woman “nice rack” and “nice ass,” statements which he denies making. Moreover, the suit argues, the defendants had not offered up any proof that he made such comments before terminating him on June 12, shortly before this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, which he had been scheduled to attend.
Perrott’s lawyers point out that, under his watch, McCann Health became one of the most creatively awarded healthcare communications networks in the world, and that he “set the vision and goals… and established the culture of creativity within the agency,” but became a “leper and an outcast” in the industry after the network and IPG allegedly leaked word of his dismissal.
“The IPG defendants’ false statements deliberately portrayed Jeremy as an oppressive monster, a verbal Harvey Weinstein with behavioral problems,” his lawyers contend.
The suit, first reported by MediaPost, also claims that Michael Roth, chairman and CEO of IPG, “has been pre-occupied with diversity.” In March 2018, the complaint reads, “[Roth] claimed that he had turned an ‘all white, all male’ company into one with majority female leadership. Roth is ultimately responsible for creating the toxic corporate policy at IPG that encouraged, facilitated and condoned the lynching and character assassination of McCann Health’s phenomenally successful Global CCO and his dismissal without any Due Process.”
It goes on to accuse MWG’s chief talent officer of being “a corporate shill” who “headed up the sham ‘investigation’ of Perrott,” alleged to have taken place on June 11, 2018, and that she “solicited and suborned false witness, lied about the results of the fake ‘investigation,’ fired Jeremy, falsely accused him of using ‘inappropriate’ language to harass someone, somewhere, sometime, and falsely accused Jeremy of creating a work environment where ‘people’ felt unsafe and unprotected.”
The chief talent officer “acted upon orders from Roth” and others at the firms “in furtherance of IPG’s toxic corporate policy of ritualistic sacrifice to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements – a corporate policy that spares no male at IPG, MWG or McCann Health and that promotes fear, distrust and loathing amongst executive talent,” the suit alleges.
The defendants filed a motion to extend the time to respond until Dec. 17.
And in a joint statement from IPG and McCann, the companies told MM&M, “We stand by our actions to protect our employees and our earlier and truthful statements. We will defend the case vigorously.”