The entire staff at US creative agency Periscope have walked off the job in protest at agency bosses’ handling of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Minneapolis-based agency is owned by parent company Quad who, earlier in the week, issued an edict to staff not to use the agency’s social media channels to promote the Black Lives Matters movement saying it needed an “appropriate time for assessment”.
This led to five of Periscope’s black employees and one LGBTQI+ ally to walk off the job in protest on Wednesday.
Things have now escalated dramtically overnight with the news Persicope’s entire team of almost 170 employees have walked off the job in protest citing Quad management’s lack of action on addressing Periscope’s support of Black Lives Matter on social media and preventing the agency from using the phrase in any of its internal or external comms messaging.
Yesterday, Periscope staff tweeted that it “believes that #BlackLivesMatter. We say it loud and proud as 166 employees in solidarity with those who walked off the job today. We won’t tip toe around it any longer. We are responsible for making the changes and started this morning.”
Staff also issued this statement via the agency’s website.
Persicope’s website describes the agency as “the most visionary, independent, fully integrated agency in the country. Four words drive everything Periscope does: do things people love”.
According to reports on US industry site AdWeek, agency staff have issued their bosses with a list of demands that include mandatory diversity and inclusion training for all levels of leadership and management, that Quad ceases interference in Periscope’s “editorial independence” and the release of full, accurate diversity data for Periscope in line with reporting guidelines.
In a written statement to AdWeek, Quad CEO Joel Quadracci said: “We respect the Periscope employees who have spoken through their actions and continue to do so this week.
“We are on a journey, and I look forward to continuing to adjust our efforts along the way. We have been asked to listen, and we are listening very intently. We are taking decisive actions and reinforcing what we know to be true: Black Lives Matter.”
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