Above is a video of the former CEO of advertising agency J.Walter Thomson (JWT) Gustavo Martinez, making a joke about rape at a company off-site meeting in Miami, in May last year.
The video was published online by lawyers of the company’s chief communications officer Erin Johnson on Thursday. Johnson filed a discrimination lawsuit against Martinez in March.
The lawsuit accuses Martinez of making “constant racist and sexual slurs,” including referring to black people as “monkeys” and telling a female employee he wanted to rape her in the bathroom.
This video was posted online as evidence after the judge presiding over the case said Johnson’s lawyers could submit a public copy, so long as the faces of the meeting’s attendees were blurred out so they could not be identified.
Martinez, in the video, apologizes about the behaviour of other guests in the hotel, which he describes as “tricky.”
He then goes on to say he “found such different and strange characters in the elevator … that I was thinking I was going to be raped in the elevator — and not in a nice way — so I’m not surprised.”
The lawsuit claims a party had taken place at the hotel’s nightclub the previous night that had been attended mostly by African-American guests.
JWT parent company WPP had previously asked the judge only to allow a sealed copy of the video to be submitted as evidence, The Wall Street Journal reported.
WPP’s lawyers said in a court filing that Martinez’s comments in the video had been taken out of context and that filing the video publicly would only “feed the media frenzy surrounding the case.”
They added that Martinez — who counts English as his fourth language — was attempting to “alleviate the significant tension that the JWT employees were feeling and the people in the room appreciated his attempt to do so.”
WPP’s lawyers also provided the judge with affidavits from the JWT employees who were visible on the original version of the video, supporting this claim.
The video was published to Vimeo because the old-fashioned US court filing system does not allow for video files to be uploaded.