Nandini Jammi, an instrumental part of the liberal ad-targeting group Sleeping Giants, is splitting from the organization over a what she says is a lack of credit for her contributions.
Jammi, who works in marketing, wrote a roughly 2,400-word blog post Wednesday on Medium. Explaining why she was quitting the group she had been a part of almost since its inception as an anonymous Twitter account in 2016, she claimed Matt Rivitz, an ad industry veteran and original creator of Sleeping Giants, increasingly sidelined her and downplayed her contributions in numerous media interviews.
“Without my knowledge, my story was being defined by someone else — a white man who could use his platform to exclude me, diminish me, or disappear me entirely. He never once invited me to join him. I never had any idea he was doing any of these interviews until it was too late,” Jammi wrote.
Rivitz created the Sleeping Giants Twitter account on Nov. 16, 2016, to campaign against advertisers touting their products on platforms that share “hateful” content. Before the end of the month, Jammi joined Rivitz and agreed to run the campaign’s Facebook page while he controlled its Twitter.
Since its founding, Sleeping Giants has led or pushed boycott movements against Breitbart News, Bill O’Reilly, Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and others. The rupture between two of its leading activists comes as the group is pushing an advertiser boycott against Facebook for not restricting more content, largely from right-wing sources.
The schism between Rivitz and Jammi began after The Daily Caller News Foundation outed Rivitz as Sleeping Giants’ founder in July 2018. Two days later, the pair spoke openly about their involvement in the organization with The New York Times.
For the article, Jammi requested she be named as a “cofounder” of the group, but Rivitz shot down her request and said she would be identified as a “member of Sleeping Giants,” according to BuzzFeed News.
“For better or worse, every organization needs a leader and that role in Sleeping Giants has belonged to me, regardless of title,” Rivitz told BuzzFeed.
“Given that we never discussed her title previously, I was definitely surprised to hear that she had named herself cofounder,” Rivitz said. “As I did not believe that was her role, having come on after I had already established the campaign, I corrected the record according to this belief.”
Rivitz went on to conduct numerous media appearances, interviews, and talks as the founder of Sleeping Giants. Jammi complained to Rivitz of being “sidelined” in an Aug. 12, 2018 email.
“In the NYT, you’re founder and I’m an early partner. In AdWeek, you’re founder and I’m a helper. In WaPo, you’re founder and I’m one of 10 helpers,” Jammi wrote, according to a screenshot of the email in her Medium post. “I’m starting to feel wary of being sidelined. I’m wary that this above ambiguity could keep me from realizing my ambitions and the impact I want to have as a pro marketer/WOC in my space.”
Rivitz replied that he felt “horrible about this and had no idea,” according to BuzzFeed. He took the title of “cofounder” off the table since he was already the founder, but gave her wide authority to pick another title. The two agreed she would be a “founding organizer.”
Rivitz and Jammi’s relationship began sliding after Rivitz accepted an award on behalf of Sleeping Giants at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France in June 2019. Jammi felt slighted after previously asking Rivitz that she be informed about and invited to participate in any big awards or media appearances for Sleeping Giants. She learned of the Cannes award from posts on Rivitz’s Instagram.
Jammi then posted a series of sarcastic and critical messages on social media directed at Rivitz. The feud came to a head in a phone call in which Rivitz questioned whether Jammi was a part of Sleeping Giants for the mission or to raise her own profile.
Afterwards, Jammi began marketing herself as a “cofounder” of Sleeping Giants and doing more press appearances herself. The two went about seven months after the call with minimal contact until a January call in which Rivitz attempted to repair the broken relationship.
“The simple act of calling myself co-founder changed so much. People looked up to me as a leader and respected what I had to say. Doors were opening and I had a pathway into the adtech industry that allowed me to start building the next thing,” Jammi wrote.
She decided to break with Rivitz completely after learning from him that he was working on a new campaign with the Anti-Defamation League and had left her out of the talks.
“Once again, he was leaving me out of the room,” Jammi wrote. “I’m sorry I have to leave Sleeping Giants. There was always space for both of us, just not on this campaign.”
Rivitz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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