Cannes Lions
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The globally renowned, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has made a mark in the industry. While they try to maintain a diverse and inclusive image, ex-Dean at Cannes Lions School called them out for their double standards.

Ex-Dean Cannes Lions on Twitter

Abraham Abbi Asefaw was Dean of a learning program at Roger Hatchuel Academy and a chairman at LW in London. After being let go of his position, he took his grievances to Twitter in form of a thread. The summary of it was that Cannes prides itself on being diverse yet, they are now a group of all-white Deans.

He starts his thread by announcing how he had tried to make an effort in correcting the situation. However, since the committee did not pay any heed, he is choosing to take the matter to Twitter.

The tweet read:

“After three months of silence from Cannes Lions since my last, constructive effort to hold them accountable as an organisation seemingly committed to DEI, I have now decided to share my experiences publicly.”

The Ex-Dean discussed his POV with reference to some of the past doings of Cannes. He said that in 2019, Cannes Media Lions had launched the most ambitious diversity and inclusion program. But only 2% of the attendees fell in the category of people of color and underrepresented communities.

Diversity & Inclusion at Cannes

Asefaw says that he had aimed for Cannes to be one of the most diverse platforms but his co-Dean was white. Therefore, he had requested that there be only one dean in his program, and that person be of color. It obviously meant that he wanted to continue being the dean of the program. Instead, eight months later, he was informed that he had been let go.

He goes on to say that he is fine not being the Dean but the replacement at least should have been a non-white person.

He also says that he can speak for the people of color who are tired of hearing apologies and empty promises.


We are tired of getting apologies, of being promised new opportunities for POC in the future, of our frustrations to be brushed off. Be committed to the cause you use for profiling.

Obviously, this would attract a lot of bad publicity for Cannes. Therefore, they immediately responded to the Dean’s tweet saying they should “talk this through.”

And later, they tweeted their own thread that contained an apology to Asefaw and a few promises to people of color.

Let’s see that the issue Asefaw raised, where it goes; Will it die down, or will it actually lead to some positive changes in the organization?

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