This Cannes Party Invite Shows Just How Sexist The Industry Can Be

If you’ve lived in this world for longer than a day, you know that women and men are held to different standards. Really, you only need to turn on the television. There’s a constant stream of advertisements telling women what they should look like, how to dress, and what should make them happy. So really, it’s fitting that this latest example of sexism comes to us curtesy of an ad agency.

On Tuesday, some participants in the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival were sent a party invitation saying that only “attractive females and models” were welcome. The invitation was for The Wednesday Party, sponsored by Thrillist Media Group and digital agency VaynerMedia, AdWeek reports.

This may have remained within the two companies… that is, until someone forwarded the email to advertising consultant and outspoken feminist Cindy Gallop, who then shared it on Twitter:

Understandably, there’s been backlash, but according to VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk and Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer, they had nothing to do with it. The invitation was sent by a third-party. And, if it was all meant to be a joke, it wasn’t a particularly funny one.

“No one at Thrillist (or Vayner for that matter) knew anything about what this vendor was doing and we are clearly appalled by it,” wrote Lerer in an email he forwarded to The Huffington Post. He also said they would no longer be working with the vendor and would be “more stringent” in selecting who they work with in the future.

Vaynerchuk was much less defensive and quickly apologized. In a video he posted to Twitter, he said was “mortified” by the invitation and, while he didn’t know all the details yet, he was working to find out.

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