One of the ad industry’s leading production studios has fired a key leader—who also served on the company’s diversity committee—following a series of tweets in which she expressed explicit support for Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election results.
The Mill confirmed to Adweek today that it has fired Erica Hilbert, managing director of its Chicago office, over her tweets, which have since been deleted, along with her Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Among her alleged infractions, Hilbert reportedly posted a photo with the caption “Coming for ya DC!” shortly before the Jan. 6 protest that escalated into an attack on the U.S. Capitol
The Mill said her tweets were in direct opposition to the company’s values around diversity, equity and inclusion and violated its zero tolerance policy for derogatory comments related to age, gender, culture and race.
Hilbert was briefly suspended while The Mill conducted an internal investigation of the tweets in question. She was ultimately terminated from her leadership role.
“On Wednesday evening of last week we were made aware of social media content on Chicago Managing Director Erica Hilbert’s personal Twitter account that directly contravenes our values of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here at The Mill,” a studio representative said in a statement to Adweek. “We immediately placed Erica on administrative leave, without contact with Mill employees or clients, as we sought to confirm the origin of the comments. While our drive for inclusion will always allow for differing points of view, these posts were derogatory of individuals’ age, gender, culture and race—something we have a zero tolerance policy for. As a result, we terminated Erica’s employment with The Mill.”
Specious claims mixed with vituperation
According to a source with knowledge of her deleted tweets, Hilbert expressed her support for Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and viciously criticized Republican leaders who did not stand by the president and his extremist supporters. While Hilbert posted that she was “Coming for ya DC” with the #StopTheSteal hashtag popular among Trump’s supporters, there were no subsequent posts documenting whether she participated in the “March to Save America” protest or the assault on the Capitol building that ensued and led to the evacuation of the U.S. Congress, the source told Adweek.
Adweek has been unable to reach Hilbert for comment, due to the deletion of all her social media profiles.
Taunting Graham, Rubio
In writing about Hilbert’s termination, production news site Reel360 included what it said were screenshots of her tweets before they were deleted. In a tweet to Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally who eventually spoke out against overturning election results, she reportedly tweeted: “Good luck old man! You’re donezo! #patrioticparty is taking over so back TFO!”
To Sen. Marco Rubio, another Republican who opted not to side with Trump’s election reversal, Reel360’s screenshot shows Hilbert tweeting: “No assist, fake news, you are a sucker and week [sic] and a sad excise [sic] for a Latino. Acknowledge the crowd. Acknowledge the fraud. You pussy!”
Hilbert had served as a member of The Mill’s official DEI Committee. However, she did not lead DEI efforts in Chicago or more broadly at the time of her firing. In her role as managing director for The Mill Chicago, Hilbert helped initiate an internal forum in the wake of the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd. That discussion was formalized into a monthly conversation around issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion by The Mill’s wider DEI task force.