Trade show International Confex has apologised after sending out an email depicting sexual harassment.
The email, with the subject line "Expose yourself!" contained a cartoon of a man with his trousers around his ankles, opening his coat and exposing himself to a goggle-eyed International Confex logo. It was accompanied by the text “How about having brand exposure to thousands of event buyers?”.
A follow up email apologised for the subject line of the email, saying: “We’ve realised that we’ve made an error of judgement with our mailer to you this morning regarding brand exposure and apologise unreservedly for any offence that this has caused.
“Although we were just trying to be humorous, we understand on reflection that the subject line was inappropriate.
“Please accept our heartfelt apologies.”
Last month, the M&IT Sexual Harassment Survey revealed that 73 per cent of respondents were aware of incidents of sexual harassment having taken place in the meetings and events sector.
Exactly half (50 per cent) of the respondents had personally been subjected to some form of sexual harassment while working in meetings and events.
A statement on the show's website said: "International Confex would like to publicly apologise for a recent email which included language and imagery depicting sexual harassment.
"The content was both deeply offensive and upsetting and we apologise unreservedly for the distress it has caused. International Confex accepts full responsibility and would like to reassure the community that such an incident will never be repeated.
"We are changing our internal processes to ensure that all material is thoroughly vetted and signed off by senior personnel so that it meets the highest of standards.
"While we cannot undo what has been done, this appalling situation has galvanised us to push on even further to tackle sexual harassment in the events industry and we welcome the opportunity to educate both the sector and ourselves, and to raise awareness and call out such abhorrent behaviour in the future.
"We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to those who have reached out to us to discuss the matter and thank those who have offered support to those within our own team who have been affected by this email, and commend their bravery in sharing with us their own lived experiences of sexual harassment.
"In the meantime, we ask that you respect the privacy and mental health of any of our team who have been referenced in news articles and on social media. This is a distressing time for our team and we are working to support them emotionally.
"Once more, we apologise for this misjudgement."