The anonymous creators of Diet Madison Avenue, an Instagram account dedicated to exposing sexual harassment in the advertising world, are about to have their identities revealed. A Los Angeles judge has cleared the way for subpoenas ordering Instagram, Facebook, and Gmail “to provide identifying information about the anonymous individuals” behind the account, reports AdAge.
Diet Madison Avenue began soliciting claims of sexual harassment and discrimination in October of last year. Through disappearing Instagram Stories, the account has made allegations against a number of industry players—some of whom have since lost their jobs.
The judge’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed in May by Ralph Watson, the former chief creative officer at the ad agency CP&B, who claims that he was wrongfully terminated in response to defamatory statements posted to the Diet Madison Avenue account. Specifically, the account referred to him as an “unrepentant serial predator,” reports the New York Times. In an Instagram Story, Diet Madison Avenue alleged that Watson “targeted & groomed” women who “were young & just starting out their careers.” It continued, “And their voices have created a timeline. Going back years. Corroborated stories. Spanning across multiple agencies. And even continents.”
Watson responded with an open letter alleging that in his 24-year career he has never sexually harassed anyone.
Diet Madison Avenue, which makes use of the #MeToo and #TimesUp hashtags, describes itself as “17 ad junkies exposing Madison Ave sexual harassment & discrimination since Oct 2017, cuz HR won’t.” The account has previously claimed to independently research allegations before airing them, according to the Times. Its Instagram page, which has reportedly riveted the ad world and managed to amassed over 20,000 followers, was deleted earlier this year—but a new account with a lesser following has since been created.
The group has launched a GoFundMe page to cover its legal expenses—but, so far, it’s only raised around $2,000 of its $100,000 goal.