two leaders of Havas Paris “retire” from their duties

two leaders of Havas Paris "retire" from their duties


The headquarters of the French multinational advertising and public relations company Havas in Puteaux, June 20, 2017.

Julien Carette and Christophe Coffre, respectively CEO and creative director of the Havas Paris communications agency, have “withdrawn” of their operations following allegations of harassment and sexual assault, one of the group’s leaders confirmed to AFP on Monday (May 2nd).

This decision is the time of an audit by an external company, the agency said. The two executives continue to work, confirmed the manager of the Havas group, a subsidiary of Vivendi, but “They do not host meetings and are on the sidelines when it comes to managing the agency”. In contact, the agency declined to comment.

Twenty anonymous testimonies were published by the Instagram account “Balance your Agency”, which for almost a week now denounced the long-standing sexist atmosphere inside the agency and involved these two officials. At the helm for ten years of which they are now co-chairs, the two men are accused of seeking to ” to kiss “ Where “to touch” in many cases female employees, sometimes trainees, at Havas Paris facilities or at outdoor events.

“Everyone knew it”

“JC is a brilliant guy, but he has the sexuality of a teenager. (…) Under the cover of the drunk, after two drinks, he jumps whatever moves. The same goes for DC [directeur de création] of Havas Events. I remember warning practitioners not to approach them during night agencies. “according to one of these testimonies.

“Comments on all the clothes, hands on the shoulder and waist, kisses very close to the mouth, I avoided him and I was afraid of only one thing, to be face to face with him”, says one of his former collaborators about Christophe Coffre. Others remember him as a gesture that simulates a sexual act and inappropriate comments.

The events are dated, as the case may be, to two, three years and up to ten years and have sometimes led to departures related to non-disclosure agreements, says Anne Boistard, creator of the 2020 account “Balance your Agency to complain” to AFP. abuses in communication agencies.

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“Everyone knew it and everyone knows it”continues, referring to “thirty” victims, even if “#Metoo has calmed down.” “It was known and covered for a long time by the team”, directed by Yannick Bolloré, son of Vivendi Vincent Bolloré shareholder, adds another former Havas Paris partner to AFP. According to her, however, it was not “No corporate culture” but of inappropriate behavior by people who felt “a little intact”.

Twenty plaintiffs, 600 employees

“We are talking about twenty people who spoke to an agency that has seen nearly 4,000 employees pass”, for its part, supports the leader of Hava. Havas Paris is one of the three largest communications offices in Paris, with around 600 employees.

The advertising sector has been rocked regularly since 2019 by waves of complaints of harassment and gender-based violence, harmful practices that were once common and from which it struggles to move away. Buzzman’s founder Georges Mohammed-Chérif has been accused of misconduct in an article World, shortly before the acquisition of his agency by Havas. The allegations also targeted Marcel, a subsidiary of Publicis, or the independent agency Herezie, which had fired its creative director.

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In 2020, Laurent Habib, the former director of Havas and later president of the association of communications consulting firms, announced his resignation from the association, which brings together 200 companies in the industry, after he had also separated from the BAT account. The industry agreed a year later on a sectoral agreement on workplace harassment and gender-based violence.

The world with AFP


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