Racism charge: 'Orlando Sentinel' drops shop

By Published on .

Orlando Sentinel Communications, parent company of Tribune Co. daily Orlando Sentinel, last week ended a 22-year relationship with ad agency Fry Hammond Barr after the Sentinel reported the agency's chairman made racist remarks.

Pete Barr Sr., chairman of Fry Hammond Barr, was a candidate for mayor of Orlando and turned over the reins of the Orlando-based agency to his son and CEO, Pete Jr., late last year before his run. (The run-off election, which Mr. Barr lost, was held Feb. 25.)

In the waning weeks of the campaign, a city councilman came forward to allege Mr. Barr had used a derogatory term for blacks in conversation. According to the Sentinel, four other individuals made similar claims.

A Sentinel spokeswoman confirmed the company had ceased its relationship with Fry Hammond Barr and directed an inquiry to comments Publisher Kathleen Waltz made to the Sentinel. Among them: "I find it hard to separate Pete Barr Sr., the owner, from the image and brand of the agency."

Reached on his car phone, Mr. Barr denied making the remarks during the campaign. He and his son said it was undecided as to whether or not Mr. Barr would return to the agency, though his son said the reports about the remarks would not affect that decision.

no replacement set

No Fry client reached by Ad Age-which include Florida Hospital and the Daytona Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau-have changed their relationship with the agency, and Pete Barr Jr. said no other client has left. Fry's annual billings are around $40 million, and the Orlando Sentinel account, said a person familiar with it, had annual billings between $1 million and $2 million.

A Sentinel spokeswoman said that the newspaper's creative would continue to be handled in-house, and that there were not yet plans to search for a replacement for Fry.

Most Popular
In this article: