Cannes Lion Under Fire For Lack Of Diversity Amongst Deans Of RHA

21 May, 2021 (Friday)

Right after the 2021 International Festival of Creativity began, Cannes Lion is under fire for the perceived lack of diversity among the deans of the Roger Hatchuel Academy (RHA) learning program.

In the detailed Twitter thread, Abraham Abbi Asefaw, London’s LW Chairman and former Dean of the Program, contended that right after his co-dean and him left the committee, the remaining deans have all been white, two years after Cannes Lions launched "its most ambitious diversity and inclusion program to date".

In his remarks, Asefaw said that he had given Cannes Lions three months to answer him, and he wanted to make his complaint public because he had not heard of the organization. "I can handle not continuing as Dean regardless of my decade-long commitment to the organization and being their ‘go-to’ for anything diversity," he wrote. "But what I can't handle, is the next generation of creatives, from all over the World, lacking representation because of a ‘QUICK FIX’," he said.

As the Co-Agent of RHA in Cannes and a business veteran that laid the main foundations for "at least one place for members in an important organization." It pretends to ignore attempts practically. When he ended partners with another dean, he abandoned his position but claimed that the attempts he had made to help a variety of candidates at Cannes Lions had been overlooked.

“I volunteered for a list of candidates in case I wasn’t. They were told they would consider their options and, like any other expert, I waited for their next step.  It’s been eight months before I received the news that I wasn’t there anymore. Dean, “he said. “Cannes responds to my anger at removing the only POC Dean the organization had, without the proper process or even the intention to consider POC as his replacement.”

Asefaw said that he introduced POC business leaders through his network "The 40 students in this programme to educate and inspire. These activities have been acknowledged and Cannes has experienced a chance to sell RHA's most varied location in Cannes Lions in conjunction with their '19 diversity campaign." After weeks of ignoring Cannes Lions' e-mail, Asefaw said that the only comment he had was a brief statement that he stated as follows.

Late Monday (London), after Asefor's criticisms started to be published, Cannes Lions referred to his remarks. "Though unintentional, we are not blind to the harm caused—and take full accountability, for not only the misstep, but the lack of communication after the fact," the organisation tweeted. "We’ve worked with Abraham for over ten years, and should he wish to communicate with us in the future, we’d be more than happy to work with him, and others, to ensure that we do not just aim for diversity, inclusion and equality – but achieve diversity, inclusion and equality."