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Cannes Lions lands itself in soup for lack of POC representation

Abraham Abbi Asefaw alleged that post his ouster from the Roger Hatchuel Academy learning programme, all the deans at Cannes Lions School are now white.

Cannes Lions has been called out for lacking in diversity and people of colour (POC) representation. The allegation comes from Abraham Abbi Asefaw, chairman at LW and former dean at the Roger Hatchuel Academy (RHA) learning programme.

Asefaw, in a Twitter thread, said that after his ouster from the programme, all the deans at the Cannes Lions School are now white. “Yes, even the Roger Hatchuel Academy - the most diverse place at Cannes Lions.”

As per the Cannes Lions website, the RHA learning programme is “a unique learning experience designed to help the students, who are interested in pursuing a creative path in advertising, launch their careers.”

“I can handle not continuing as dean, regardless of my decade-long commitment to the organisation and being its ‘go-to’ for anything diversity. 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 wrote and alleged inactivity on the part of Cannes Lions, despite him giving it a shortlist of possible candidates.

“You can add all the POC leaders and celebs to your roster of speakers that you want, but if you are not committed at the core, you are not helping,” stated Asefaw.

Cannes Lions responded to Asefaw with its own Twitter thread, where it wrote, “… We’ve reached out to him, but would like to offer him a public apology.”