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"Do Sex and Business Mix? Ad Exec Says Sex Toy Demo Is None of Your Business"

on Wednesday, 16 March 2011. Posted in Media Updates

CBS MoneyWatch

Usually when a sex scandal touches the corporate world, executives stay silent, resign, or take a secluded break from their duties. Not in Jim Marcus’ case. Marcus, group creative director at Tribal DDB in Chicago, became the most talked about man in the ad agency business after he penetrated his naked fiancée with a power-tool-enhanced sex toy in an extracurricular session of Northwestern University’s “Human Sexuality” class.

He has previously organized fetish nights at various nightclubs, including a “hostage party” at which Marcus and his cohosts “came in and beat everybody up, took them hostage and raped and abused everyone.” (The activities were entirely consensual, Marcus says.)

The Northwestern incident on Feb. 21 was part of a voluntary, closed-door seminar attended by about 100 students. In a March 4 item, I suggested that Marcus and his fiance, Faith Kroll, were such a distraction for DDB that it might consider firing him. In a series of emails with BNET, Marcus defended his actions and criticized BNET and the rest of the media for mischaracterizing the demonstration. His private life should not reflect on his business life, he insisted. Here is an edited digest of our conversation:

Jim Marcus: The tone of your article seems to suggest that I should be ashamed of what I did, without giving me a chance to even explain WHAT I did. You float the idea that I should not have posed for pictures while running pictures of me pulled from Facebook. You admit that what I did was outside work but insist that people SHOULD somehow think about the sex act when considering me in pitches, meetings, etc., from now on, as though the rest of advertising were composed entirely of virginal people.

The person across the table from you at that last meeting has a sex life. They do things outside work. They may be polyamorous, kinky, involved in BDSM. They may have a thousand different consensual kinks that don’t impact the quality of their work one bit.

I spoke out in defense of what we did for the same reason I posed for pictures. If I did not, the only voice people would hear would be yours, the only pictures pulled clumsily from the internet and the only quotes from people NOT in attendance. I have been as responsible as possible in the media, clinical, reasonable, and entirely wishing not to fan the fires of what I consider to be a non-issue. ...

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