WASHINGTON: Former FitzGibbon Media senior director of media relations Brett Abrams has founded a DC-based agency called Unbendable Media.
The name is an homage to the "unbendable values of the staff" at the now-defunct FitzGibbon Media, which closed at the end of last year.
Abrams said he has already brought together about a dozen clients that he worked with at FitzGibbon, and he is hiring five former staffers of the progressive public affairs firm. He is in talks with other former agency team members to come on-board with their clients to become principals of the agency, he said.
Abrams said there are plenty of loose ends to tie up, his title for starters. He added he isn’t sure whether he’ll be president or chief executive of the agency, or both. The firm also needs office space, though he noted the progressive community has offered its help in this regard.
Abrams incorporated Unbendable Media at the end of December, two weeks after FitzGibbon Media closed. He noted that he has not reached out to all 40 former FitzGibbon clients, only those he worked with personally. All of those agreed to work with the new agency, he said.
"It's been an emotional time," he said. "But, things are going to be able to move forward."
Abrams said he has an advantage in that he can accept low-budget clients. "At FitzGibbon, issues came before money," he noted.
FitzGibbon Media closed last month after allegations about the personal conduct of founder and president Trevor FitzGibbon emerged. The firm had offices in New York, San Francisco, London, and Washington, DC, and worked with progressive groups such as Amnesty International, Wikileaks, and NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Former staffers at the agency told PRWeek last month that several of the firm’s managers came together after an agency retreat in Austin, Texas, in December to demand cofounder Trevor FitzGibbon go on leave. He dissolved the agency after staffers made it clear they would no longer work with him, they said.
Levick provides crisis comms help
FitzGibbon has retained DC-based firm Levick Communications to help him respond to allegations of sexual harassment by former employees and the December 17 closure of his progressive PR firm.
In a statement released by Levick, Trevor FitzGibbon said: "It is with tremendous regret that we had to close FitzGibbon Media. Our team was at the helm of many of the most important policy debates of our time. We were the undisputed communications leader for the progressive movement. Although the company is closing, our talents and our mission remain unchanged."
He also apologized in the statement to both former staffers and clients, saying, "I will work to once again regain the trust that was lost."
The agency closure left 30 staffers unemployed and 40 clients up for grabs. Several executives started a crowdfunding project to raise money for the most financial strapped employees who were laid off without severance and healthcare set to end on January 31.
Levick also released a separate statement on behalf of the company, saying, "While the company is closing, our support of the progressive movement continues with each one of us."