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Publicis lets go of Tom Goodwin after controversial COVID tweet

The Head of Futures and Insight said he found the obsession with COVID deaths gruesome.

Twitter is a like double-edged sword; veer a bit too much and you're out. Tom Goodwin is facing this reality right now. Until the end of July 2020, he was the Head of Futures and Insight at Publicis Groupe. A rather important position. Then his tweets crumbled it to dust.

It was Goodwin's tweet regarding the deaths due to the Coronavirus pandemic that brought him under the scanner. He said: “I find the total obsession with Covid deaths over all other deaths entirely gruesome. 7500 Americans die every day but only the ones with this precise new Virus matter.” He added: “(& excess mortality is now near zero)”.

Of the many comments and reactions his tweet generated, one belonged to international innovation consultancy R/GA's US chief strategy officer Tom Morton who responded to Goodwin's tweet: "Because it's a new disease with no vaccine and no cure and 150,000 Americans are dead. Please no more clickbait contrarianism. You're better than this."

To this, Goodwin tweeted back three times; all of them more personal than what one would expect on a social media platform. Morton, in the end, said it was the end of his and Goodwin’s professional correspondence.

In light of these tweets, Publicis Groupe let go of Goodwin. As per BrandinginAisa, the holding company said: “Since the beginning of this pandemic, Publicis Groupe has taken decisions and actions led by the principles of unity, empathy and humanity despite the collective hardships.”

“These posts and exchanges by Tom Goodwin this week on social media do not meet the standard of conduct we expect of our company’s employees and were not aligned with our values. Publicis and Tom have parted ways.”

Goodwin's career spans nearly two decades with stints at both sides of the coin: client and agency. Some of the places he has worked are GlaxoSmithKline, TBWA\Worldwide, Lowe, IPG Media Lab, Havas Media, and Zenith Media. He's also an author and as per his LinkedIn profile, he is now the founder of an upcoming "insurgent innovation and transformation consultancy" called "All We Have is Now".