With just a few weeks to go before its flagship festival, Cannes Lion is in hot water over a lack of diversity in its upper ranks.
On Monday, lecturer and chairman at Hyper Island Abraham Abbi Asefaw called out the organization for replacing him as a Dean on the Cannes Lions School accelerator program with a white person. Asefaw was the only Dean of color on the program, which tends to bring in a diverse set of students.
The public exchange between Asefaw and Cannes leadership on Twitter was just another sign that the advertising industry has a huge problem when it comes to lack of diversity.
With the Cannes Lions awards approaching in June, the conversation around whether Cannes Lions itself has a diversity problem has taken on new fervor. The organization representing the advertising and PR industry has previously prided itself on selecting diverse jurors for its awards.
This is a particularly disappointing moment for LIONS, as the organisation has been proud to appoint increasingly diverse panels of jurors and talent. These events are a clear sign that it is now time to direct that focus internally – and this is a promise that we will do better.— LIONS | The Home of Creativity (@Cannes_Lions) May 17, 2021
Campaign US readers agree with Asefaw: Cannes Lions is not doing enough.
Does Cannes have a diversity problem?— Campaign US (@CampaignLiveUS) May 19, 2021