The Gustavo Martinez lawsuit: A timeline

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One year after that first shocking headline, a look back at how it all played out.

It started on March 10, 2016, with a classic New York Post headline: "Disgusting CEO is the world's worst boss, lawsuit claims." Somehow, the story was even worse.

The "disgusting CEO" was J. Walter Thompson's Chairman and CEO, Gustavo Martinez, and his opponent was Erin Johnson, the agency's chief communications officer. Far more than being a bad boss, Martinez was accused of constantly spewing racist and sexist remarks, from "joking" about raping Johnson to referring to black people as monkeys. Martinez and WPP immediately denied the charges, and have largely maintained that stance to this day.

For the industry, the lawsuit was a shock to the system. That such blatant misogyny and mistreatment could possibly still exist at the highest level of one of the oldest and largest agencies suggested that adland hadn't evolved very far from its Mad Men days. A new urgency behind diversity and equality efforts was born, and has dominated the industry conversation for the past year.

One year after news of the lawsuit broke, even close observers could be forgiven for losing track of the story. After 12 months of legal back and forth, the suit is only now getting under way, with both sides preparing to begin deposing witness any day now. And the reverberations from the scandal continue to play out.

Below is a timeline of every significant development in the lawsuit and its aftermath. We will continue to update this as new items appear.

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