There is also Instagram video of the wall on his Instagram
captioned, "Your hate is my anthem."
Peterson's posts from Friday evening also include images from a
brochure, available in the agency, with the same "All of us work
here some of us fucking love it" message. The inside has a section
introduced as "Conscious Uncoupling."
The brochure reads: "We assume you love working at Havas but if
you are not happy in your role, you don't have to continue feeling
that way. Conversely, if we see that this is not your jam, we are
going to raise this with you. We want you to be happy. We won't
hold this against you, we've got your back … Talk to your
Manager or your Talent Management Partner to get the conversation
That document lists three HR people at the company. It also
lists contacts for recruiters from Chicago agencies like FCB,
Digitas, Upshot and McGarryBowen.
Tatia Torrey, president and chief client officer at Havas
Chicago, said in a statement that "A group of our employees brought
this idea to us, they wanted to address some of the hateful online
commentary and bullying that exists around some of our employees
and our greater industry and expose the damage that it does to
people who love their work and this business." Her statement noted
that the agency uses its office as an installation space to express
what's happening culturally, and has addressed "tough, but real"
topics like suicide awareness, immigration, gender equality and
racism in the workplace.
"We took it a step further and sent out material that encouraged
our staff to talk to us openly if they have real issues, and quite
frankly, to consider their choices in their work," she said.
"Bullying is something that we simply won't tolerate. If there are
issues amongst our business, we would rather address them openly,
ultimately with the goal of making this the best possible place to
work for our amazing staff that work so hard."
The shop said multiple people in the agency, including Peterson,
stepped forward to share comments made about them personally.
The Peterson posts come a month and a half after
an internal video popped up on Fishbowl and prompted some
negative industry commentary. In the video, which featured Peterson
and Havas Creative North America CEO and Chairman Paul Marobella,
Peterson said shops like Leo Burnett, FCB and BBDO or other "shitty
agencies" aren't Havas' competition, but instead its competition is
"kids with iPhones and millions of YouTube followers."
Asked at the time to respond to criticisms that he had called
other agencies "shitty," Peterson said the video was internal, so
if any Havas employees "want to go work at these other agencies
please by all means go and do it."
In a statement regarding the art installation, Peterson said,
"Havas Chicago is a unique creative company that requires unique
creative people with the right level of commitment, courage and
contribution to what that means. In the case where there is not a
mutual fit, we'd rather know and address it now and encourage those
employees to pursue what's best for them in their careers, while we
maintain an amazing creative team here who share a vision and point
of view. Constructive discussion and criticism is just that --
constructive," his statement reads. "What we simply will not
tolerate is hate or bullying while hiding behind anonymous sources
within our business."
The agency says since Peterson posted about the installation on
his Instagram, he has received more than 350 direct messages from
people interested in working for Havas (many of which he posted on
his personal Instagram account stories).
In an emailed message to employees, Torrey said the agency is
"not a typical agency."
"We are loud and proud and we are not for everyone," she wrote
in part. "...We value and promote social media. Yet, the anonymity
with some platforms allows for pointed and painful comments at
times. Recently many of those comments have been directed at our
agency, our environment and the people who work here. We are not
O.K. with that. In a manner that is truly Havas CHI, we are
bringing this to the forefront. We created a lobby installation to
address it head on. We want to talk about it."
The agency says the installation coincided with the launch of
Monica Lewinsky's anti-bullying campaign and will likely last until
mid-month when it will make way for a breast cancer awareness
When asked for comment, Fishbowl chief operating officer and
co-founder Loren Appin said in a statement that the app's community
guidelines are thorough and are "not only explicitly against
bullying, but also against unconstructive, excessive
"We have no opinion on how [Havas has] chosen to interact with
their own employees, but do believe the representation of Fishbowl
as a place for professionals to bully one another is entirely
false," he said.