There’s a battle brewing between Jack O’Dwyer, who publishes newsletter products covering the PR field, and the Public Relations Society of America – with O’Dwyer taking his case to President Obama.
In a letter to the president, Jack O’Dwyer said he needed government intervention because of the refusal of PRSA to carry his ads. O’Dwyer said that PRSA, a non-profit 501/c/6 corporation, is supposed to serve the PR industry and not be in competition with any company in that industry.
In his letter to the president, he wrote: “The Society has built up its membership to 22,000 in its 61 years but won’t let my company advertise our five excellent products in its monthly tabloid, PR Tactics. It feels its membership list is its own private property although it was built with tax-free funds.
O’Dwyer, who has been at odds with PRSA for many years, stated “A current issue at the PR Society is the lack of any African-Americans on the 17-member board. In its 61 years, there have only been three black board members and one of them quit after six months. The Society has obviously has not reached out to leaders in the black communications community to bring them onto the board.”
“The advertising/PR industry at present is facing possible class action lawsuits waged by the law firm of Mehri & Skalet, Washington, D.C., which found in a major study that few blacks are among the top executives at advertising agencies and PR firms. The study was released in January, 2009. M&S waged successful discrimination lawsuits against Coca-Cola, winning a settlement of $193 million, and Texaco ($176 million),” O’Dwyer wrote in his letter to the president.
“I realize you don’t have personal time for the problems of one small publishing business that is suffering from unfair competition but I believe you will pass this information on to people in the Government who do have the time. Small businesses like mine, employing ten people, are the backbone of America, as you have said,” O'Dwyer stated.
PRSA responded: "In pursuing his personal vendetta against PRSA, Mr. O’Dwyer has written to the New York State Supreme Court, university administrators and professors, senior executives at companies that employ our Board members and volunteers, trade associations, journalists, and others. He advocates for operational changes that he is unqualified to address; pursues grievances that he could not or would not pursue through the judicial system; and claims unfair competition when, in fact, PRSA does not compete with the O’Dwyer organization on any level.
"We believe that the White House—which clearly has more pressing matters to deal with than a private-sector business decision—will dismiss Mr. O’Dwyer’s claims in much the same way that the others have," concluded PRSA.