Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Kevin Roberts: suspended for honesty


NZer Kevin Roberts was “suspended” from his job as head of the Saatchi advertising empire for saying companies should be judged by how happy they make their female employees happy, not by how many with female parts occupy the boardroom. The feminazis rose up in droves.  “People like Kevin Roberts no longer belong in ad agencies,” thundered the politest of the commentariat.We’re supposed to back his sacking say Twitterati, because this is apparently offensive to all right-thinking social-justice warriors. Get with their programme, Kev!

But what did he say that was so wrong, wonders Elena Shalneva? What’s wrong with being honest about “gender diversity”?

Not only is he well-informed on the subject, but he approaches the complex issue of gender diversity in a more intelligent and nuanced way than most…
    From what I have read, there is absolutely nothing wrong with what Roberts said. On the contrary, he dared to approach an issue as sensitive as gender diversity in an honest and humane way, rather than resort to the one-sided ideological statements more customary to this subject.

How dare he. How dare he point out that that the “’Darwinian urges of wealth, power, and fame’ do not necessarily apply to everyone, and that what many people want is just to do ‘great work’ and be happy rather than reach the top.”

So he’s been suspended for sins against feminism. “The new gender intolerance has claimed another scalp,” says Ella Whelan, who concedes that Roberts may have got things wrong – “his assertion that women don’t want top jobs because they ‘simply want to be happy and do great work’ is a little naive. Many women will understand that taking a top position will involve a great deal of sacrifice” – but hardly deserves being tarred and feathered.

The crazy thing about this whole debacle is that Roberts’ comments don’t actually harm women. He’s obviously a stranger to the factors that shape many women’s decisions – he’s clearly not had to come home to a kitchen that needs mopping after a long day’s work. But all he’s really guilty of is not being interested in having a discussion about gender. That’s fair enough. Gallop and her feminist supporters however, are undermining women’s freedom. In their assertion that women need a leg-up in the workplace, they paint women as incapable of being independent agents in the world. Gallop and other proponents of gender equality believe that women are incapable of forging their own destinies.
    We need to remind ourselves that discrimination in the workplace is illegal and that, as Joanna Williams has pointed out on spiked,
‘the gender pay gap is dead’. So, in a sense, Roberts is right to wonder why this zombie debate on gender equality is still being rehearsed? It really is all over.
    Roberts doesn’t want a debate about gender equality, but neither do his critics. Gender equality, it seems, is not up for discussion. Anyone who has criticised the political inadequacies of contemporary feminism knows this. If we want to have a real debate about women’s freedom (a discussion on reproductive rights would be a good start), we should have one. But let’s stop this pretence of a debate about gender and get serious about defending women’s agency and capabilities. That means allowing men like Roberts to have an opinion and to voice it freely without being silenced or sacked.

But if we were all allowed our own opinion, what would the world’s social-justice warriors do with all their spare time?



  1. Managed to lose a whole day on Twitter on this one yesterday. It's like a parallel universe. Their dogma is insurmountable, and it gets vicious when you question it. I hate they way they (progressives/identity politickers) always go for the shut down/ban/job loss for someone expressing their mind, in this case based on years of experience in the industry.

  2. I hate that they do that too but it is their MO and *we* need to stop being shocked each time it happens. Truely grock it. Stop pretending it's a debate. Then we can overcome them.

    1. We may not be shocked - but that doesn't mean we should accept it as the 'new normal', and not express outrage when it happens.

    2. No it doesn't mean we should. It means we do! And that robs us of outrage.

      Think of a lottery player who is ever surprised, shocked, when their winning numbers are not selected. This is someone who considers infinitesimal probability highly likely! And they play again. They will lose again and this too will surprise them.

      See what I mean? Here in this gap created by sentiment, the 'it can't happen here', thrives the casino and the social justice warrior. Their recidivism relies upon our incredulity.

  3. Good grief after a few generations of banging head, it turns out that the x chromosome is not always there in all ways. forbidden science.

  4. The reason this "debate" continues is simple: power. Those perpetuating it--always someone feeling offended for someone else, never the person who was actually affected by these events--build up anger so that they can cash in on it in the form of increased power. As such, whether discrimination is real or not is irrelevant to them.

    I lost all respect for the feminist movement when Wal-Mart got in trouble for not having enough female managers. I spoke to a number of employees, at multiple levels, and they all told the same story: women simply didn't ACCEPT management positions. They were offered, but the women rejected them. The reason was that most women who worked at Wal-Mart at the time (I don't know about today) did so to get out of the house while the kids were at school, make a little extra money, and make friends outside the home. They didn't want--and actively avoided--the pressure and responsibility that goes with management positions. Yet Feminists continued to blast Wal-Mart for not being diverse enough. At that point, I realized that Feminists had no concern for female equality. How can they when they reject female choices?

    I do want to say that wealth, power, and fame have nothing to do with Darwinism (in either sense). Darwin quite correctly pointed out that what we think might be advantageous in a species perpetuating itself, and what actually is so, are often at odds. The joke among paleontologists is bigger/faster/stronger--those Victorian ideals that everyone assumed would lead to greater evolutionary success. The reality is that success is defined by the organism's local changing environment, and has been since Darwin's most famous publication. In humans wealth, power, and fame are OFTEN associated with increased mating opportunities and increased success of offspring (in terms of survival and mating), but not always; a quick look at demographics demonstrates that ignorant savages living in abject poverty have more offspring than the most affluent nations, with the USA being a rare exception to the trend. It's not a major point, but one that I'm obliged to correct.

  5. But if Roberts' comments are bad for business, or bad for their corporate image, shouldn't Saatchi be free to make a such a business decision?
    I'm not saying Roberts is wrong, just that Saatchi is free to make that decision, surely?


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