Since last summer, I've been invited to speak at several agencies about my research on race discrimination in advertising. On one occasion, I was sent a contract with a non-disparagement clause stipulating that I would not make "any statements, or take any other actions whatsoever, to disparage, defame, sully or compromise the goodwill, name, brand or reputation of the Client or any of its affiliates." The restriction struck me as comical since it was precisely the decidedly unflattering words I'd written and spoken about advertising that put me on the agency's radar in the first place. And besides, no self-respecting columnist could possibly agree to never say a negative word about anyone they might potentially cover in the future -- right? So, I objected. They removed the clause, but also noted that it was "getting more common nowadays." And there's the rub.
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