After years of making a name for his memorable advertising campaigns, Neil French, the cigar-chomping ex-creative head of the world's biggest advertising group, has also managed to make a name for himself thanks to his remarks that the reason so few women make it to the top in the advertising industry is because "they don't deserve to. They're crap," and because they "wimp out and go suckle something".
But as Carole Cadwalladr mused in Sunday's Observer, "it'd be nice therefore to write a story about how he's wrong and to have some women who have made it to the top say that he's talking rubbish. But here's the tricky thing: that would require finding one of these women, one who isn't crap and who hasn't gone to suckle something. And the problem is it's difficult."
In fact, she points out, in an industry worth £18.3 billion a year in Britain, there are precisely two female creative directors. What's more, on the creative side at least, women barely exist at all.
On the blog that revealed French's comments to the world there's a message added by 'Patsyb': 'This is not an ad industry problem - it's a societal problem. I made all the sacrifices French says women won't make - and both my kids and I still got screwed. Why don't female creatives rise to the top? They get fed up with the dickheads, the heartbreaking choices, the insane juggling that makes you get up and vomit every morning from the stress ... until, finally, they say to hell with it.'