Ad Agency Founder Fires Himself After Making Racist Remarks

Richards Group founder Stan Richards stepped down from the advertising firm Thursday after racist remarks led to an exodus of clients, including Motel 6 and Home Depot Inc.

“If this was a publicly held company, I’d be fired for the comments I made. But we’re not public, so I am firing myself,” Richards, 87, said in a statement. “Our employees, first and foremost, deserve that.”

Glenn Dady, a creative director at the firm, will assume full control of operations and new-business efforts effective immediately, the company said. Richards Group also is creating a new position to help oversee diversity, equity and inclusion, and it’s auditing policies to make sure they’re fair to all its workers.

The firm has been embroiled in crisis since its founder was quoted as saying a proposed Motel 6 ad was “too Black” and wouldn’t resonate with the chain’s “significant White supremacist constituents.” The incident took place last week during an internal meeting, the motel chain said.

Since Ad Age first reported on the comments, Motel 6 and other clients have severed ties with Richards Group. The Salvation Army, a Christian charitable organization, was the latest to depart on Thursday, saying Richards’s remarks were “hurtful to everyone and in complete conflict with the fulfillment of our mission to meet human needs in Christ’s name without discrimination.”

Richards apologized to employees earlier this week. In his statement Thursday, he said, “I made a mistake. The biggest mistake of my life. One I will never be able to adequately explain or take back. All I can say is that I was wrong.”

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