Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO of VaynerMedia, has apologised for a Cannes party invite sent out on behalf of his agency, calling for “attractive females and models only,” Adweek reports.
The invite has been the talk of the Cannes Lions advertising festival this week and was quickly circulated amongst female advertising executives.
Cindy Gallop, an advertising consultant and feminist campaigner, shared the details of the invite on Twitter:
As the tweet shows, the email — for an event taking place on Wednesday, sponsored by VaynerMedia and Thrillist Media Group — sought out “attractive females and models only,” which was emphasised in bold and underlined text. The invite was sent by IGetIn, an events company.
“Gentlemen may contact the PR departments of the respective sponsors,” the email read. Meanwhile, females hoping to attend were required to send their “untouched” photos from Facebook and Instagram.
VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk posted numerous videos to Twitter on Tuesday, apologizing for the email.
He said he was “mortified” but took full responsibility and was “getting to the bottom of it.”
Thrillist Media CEO Ben Lerer, however, was less apologetic, calling the email “promoter spam”:
A Thrillist spokesperson said: “A third party promotions company sent this email without us knowing. We apologise to anyone who was spammed with this but it didn’t come from Thrillist or Vayner. The guest list for the party has been closed for some time and will not include anyone who replies to that email.”
VaynerMedia and IGetIn were not immediately available for comment.
A spokesperson from VaynerMedia told Adweek that the agency was not directly involved in appointing the company that sent the email and that the message “was not reflective of the company or its culture.” Adweek also reports that the female executive who forwarded the email to the publication has received a direct apology from Vaynerchuk.
People on Twitter have also been praising the way Vaynerchuk handled the situation — including Gallop:
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