Following news that Milwaukee agency Laughlin Constable had fired CCO Dan Fietsam, who also resigned from his role as president of United Adworkers following unspecified allegations of sexual harassment, the UA organization posted a letter yesterday sharing “additional context surrounding the events and our subsequent actions.”
United Adworkers originally shared a letter in which Fietsam announced his resignation while denying the allegations against him; it was subsequently removed from the website. In the new statement, UA clarified that Fietsam’s resignation came at the organization’s request; it also apologized for publishing his letter and thereby providing him with a platform.
The organization did not offer comment beyond a link to the new letter.
“On May 25, following the events that transpired at the Women in Leadership panel on May 24, United Adworkers asked Fietsam to step down from his role as board president. Fietsam tendered his resignation that afternoon, and United Adworkers published Fietsam’s resignation letter on our website to communicate this change,” the statement explained. “We understand that in our haste to post the letter, we unintentionally gave him a platform to defend his actions and address his accusers, for which we are deeply sorry.”
The statement also addresses an assertion reportedly made by Fietsam in an email to Laughlin Constable employees.
According to The Drum, which obtained the email and provided a summary, Fietsam claimed that “a similar accusation was made back when he first took the reins as the ad club’s president earlier in the year,” and United Adworkers “reviewed that previous accusation, deemed it unfounded, and took no action.”
United Adworkers refuted that claim in its statement.
“We want to be clear that when Fietsam was elected as Board President of United Adworkers in December 2017, we had no knowledge of any similar claims,” the statement alleges. “When claims were later brought to our attention, information was quickly shared with the appropriate parties to address. None of the alleged events occurred at an United Adworkers event.”
The organization claimed in the statement that creating “an organization where everyone feels protected and to ensure that any actions that run counter to our core values are not tolerated” is its “highest priority.”
It went on to say that “the issue we face today is representative of a larger societal issue. We are committed to understanding how best to handle harassment and the role that United Adworkers plays in helping educate and advocate for the advertising industry at large.”
“As members within the Milwaukee ad community, we need to work together to become a part of the solution, promote dialogue that encourages thoughtful discourse, encourage awareness and take action to make our ad community a greater, and safer place,” the statement concludes.