Cyrus Mehri and NAACP Come to Madison Avenue

Promise to Expose 'Dramatic Level' of Discrimination

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Back in September, Ad Age exclusively broke the news that Cyrus Mehri, of civil rights law firm Mehri & Skalet, was working up a study of (the lack of) diversity in the advertising industry. Perhaps you missed the story as it was the same week that the financial industry completely collapsed. Well, on Thursday, Jan. 8, Mr. Mehri -- along with the NAACP, economist Marc Bendick and Sanford Moore -- will release the full study. According to the press release, the study promises to expose a "dramatic level of racial discrimination at executive levels in the American advertising industry in terms of pay and advancement."

Comparing his Madison Avenue Project to other diversity efforts, Mehri told us in September that "This is a world of difference compared to anything [the industry has] faced before." Mehri went on to say: "It's not a matter of forming affinity groups among the excluded. What needs fixing isn't the African-Americans; it's the white guy running the agency. We want to relentlessly focus on not the excluded groups but the excluding groups, the people who control the power and make the decisions. That's where people are running into barriers. The leadership has to come from the top."

The press conference will be held Jan. 8 at 11 a.m. Location: the Starlight Room of the Roger Smith Hotel, 501 Lexington Ave. (between 47th and 49th streets).

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