With the firings of Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor, the face of crisis PR has been changed, for the moment at least. When your client is fired before he can even say, “I need crisis PR,” what’s left for crisis PR people to do? On the other hand, perhaps all these men still need crisis PR. Look at Charlie Rose, who was ambushed on the street and gave a very inappropriate response to a question.
NBC News anchor Matt Lauer has been fired after sexual allegations were raised by a fellow employee at the company. On Nov. 29, a memo from NBC News chairman Andy Lack was released to the press announcing the firing to NBC employees and citing a complaint of “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace” as the reason for Laurer’s termination. This comes amid a wave of revelations of sexual misconduct by public figures in the media, politics and entertainment spheres. But NBC’s swift response appears to be a shift in the way these stories have broken thus far.
Massage Envy, the spa chain with nearly 1,200 U.S. locations, is under fire as a BuzzFeed investigation brought to light more than 180 allegations of sexual assault made against the company and its franchisees over a 15-year span. And its response to the crisis so far has served as a cautionary tale of bad planning, offering a lesson in what not to do to contain a crisis.
YouTube is once again facing a brand advertiser exodus for reputation-harming advertising placements. A recent investigation revealed that YouTube ran ads from “dozens” of brands with videos uploaded by children that were targets for predatory comments.
Uber’s response to its cyber breach crisis has raised more questions than answers, allowing speculation and coverage to increase and brand equity to erode, according to crisis expert Sam Huxley, senior vice president with Washington, D.C.-based agency LEVICK.
UCLA’s and Pac-12’s extended media moment following the incident in China is nothing new in an era in which not responding—as UCLA did by declining to take questions from the press—is a form of response in itself. We can now add UCLA to the list of brands ensnared in our divisive cultural and political climate.
Let’s start with this morning’s initial apology from a powerful man accused of sexual assault: “I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn’t. I shouldn’t have done it.”
As any PR professional knows, reputation is everything. And if anyone still doubts that, the #MeToo movement has arrived to awaken us all. At this very moment the reputations of comedian Louis C.K. and Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore are in free fall as a result of news coverage of their alleged sexual misconduct.
Facebook, Apple, Uber, Nike, Walmart, McDonald’s and more are all members of the unhappy fraternity of brands named in the “Paradise Papers,” a trove of millions of documents leaked to the International Consortium of Independent Journalists (ICIJ) that purport to reveal prominent people and companies using offshore havens to avoid tax.
Scheduling tweets and recycling old content are best practices, but the NRA failed to take into account that it is an extremely crisis-prone brand and scheduled a tweet that looked insensitive in the context of the Texas church shooting. This should be addressed in every brand’s crisis plan.