A Czech brothel, a tennis star and a lawsuit

November 1, 2007

Japan’s largest advertising company, Dentsu Inc, is attracting exactly the kind of attention its clients would never want.

Newsday, The Daily News and the New York Post all covered the story that a former creative director at the U.S. division of Dentsu has sued the holding company in New York federal court, claiming he was put in some rather awkward sexual situations.

One such situation, according to the ex-creative director, Steve Biegel, occurred during a business trip in June 2004 to the Czech Republic with Toyo Shigeta, the chief executive officer of Dentsu Holdings USA.

Here’s how the Associated Press described the claim from the lawsuit:

On one evening during the trip, Shigeta ordered Biegel and another employee of the company to go on an outing with him but refused to say where they were going, the lawsuit said.

Shigeta took them to a brothel, leaving Biegel, who is married, offended and humiliated that he had been forced or duped into going there, the lawsuit said.

It said Shigeta later demanded they participate in prostitution and became angry when they did not, accusing them of being “no fun.”

The lawsuit said Shigeta later told them that having sex with prostitutes was a proper style of conducting business and commemorating business dealings.

The Daily News picked up on a different element of the lawsuit, highlighting a claim that Shigeta “secretly snapped crotch shots” of tennis star Maria Sharapova when she posed for a Canon ad in 2005.

Dentsu has said it will fight the lawsuit.

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