Publicis Groupe has split with its head of futures and insight, Tom Goodwin, after he posted a series of controversial tweets about the coronavirus.
Goodwin, who has been in his current role since January, took to Twitter on Sunday to share his views on the pandemic.
He wrote: “I find the total obsession with Covid deaths over all other deaths entirely gruesome. 7500 Americans die every day but only the ones with this precise new virus matter.
“Still finding it totally baffling that someone who dies from Covid is more preventable and thus more tragic than someone who dies of delayed cancer diagnosis or delayed surgery because of lockdown, which is just how life is. And 2019 influenza B deaths are less tragic why?”
— Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin) August 2, 2020
I find the total obsession with Covid deaths over all other deaths entirely gruesome.
7500 Americans die every day but only the ones with this precise new Virus matter.
( & excess mortality is now near zero) https://t.co/MGRY8tuf7I
His tweets prompted backlash from other Twitter users including Tom Morton, US chief strategy officer at R/GA, who described Goodwin's comments as "clickbait contrarianism" – leading Goodwin to accuse Morton, in angry language, of taking a moral high ground.
Following the controversy, Publicis parted ways with Goodwin.
A spokesperson for the holding company said in a statement: “Since the beginning of this pandemic, Publicis Groupe has taken decisions and actions led by the principles of unity, empathy and humanity despite the collective hardships. These posts and exchanges by Tom Goodwin this week on social media do not meet the standard of conduct we expect of our company’s employees and were not aligned with our values. Publicis and Tom have parted ways.”
Goodwin was previously executive vice-president and head of innovation at Zenith. He is also a speaker, author and consultant. In 2017, he wrote in Campaign about the potential of technology to unlock growth for brands.
Publicis' global organic revenue dropped 13% year on year during the second quarter.