Publicis Groupe has parted ways with Tom Goodwin, its head of futures and insight, after his controversial COVID-19 tweets. According to multiple media reports, a spokesperson from Publicis Groupe has said in a statement that the posts and exchanges by Goodwin on social media "do not meet the standard of conduct" the agency expects of its company's employees, and are "not aligned" with its values.
This follows after Goodwin posted a tweet that said he found the "total obsession" with COVID-19 deaths over all other deaths "entirely gruesome". "7500 Americans die every day but only the ones with this precise new virus matter," the tweet said, adding that the excess mortality is now near zero. This was in response to a tweet that said the US is losing the number of people who died on 9/11 every two days.
A day later, Goodwin clarified that he is not speaking on behalf of Publicis. "Time to repeat that I'm not a voice of Publicis. This thread is just me, not representative of a Publicis point-of-view," the tweet read.
In response to Goodwin's tweet, many netizens said the focus on COVID-19 deaths is due to the fact that the deaths are preventable. As one Twitter user put it: "It’s not obsession with COVID deaths or not “caring” about anyone else who dies, it’s that this deadly virus does not have to be killing thousands each day, it’s preventable, with proper leadership. Other countries have prevented it. The obsession is with our leaders ignoring it."
Additionally, Goodwin's comment has also seen Tom Morton, chief strategy officer, at R/GA publicly distancing himself. Morton replied to Goodwin's original comment which said that COVID-19 deaths are spotlighted because it is a new disease with no vaccine, no cure and caused the deaths of 150,000 Americans. Morton added that Goodwin's comment was "clickbait contrarianism", and said Goodwin is better than that.
This caused Goodwin to retort back that it is not "clickbait contrarianism", but basic morality, before telling Morton to "get off [his] lofty perch and give a sh*t about the vulnerable". Morton then retweeted Goodwin's comment with the caption "I guess this is the end of me and Tom Goodwin's professional correspondence".
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