Exit the Scapegoat at Komen. Who’s Next?


As expected, Karen Handel has resigned as VP of public affairs for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Her resignation can be perceived as part of the organization's response to the public outcry over its decision—since reversed—to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.

Komen had been criticized for claiming that its decision to cut off funding was rooted in new criteria about supporting organizations being investigated by Congress, and was not politically motivated. Handel was a GOP candidate for governor in Georgia in 2010, and defunding Planned Parenthood was reportedly part of her platform. Once that connection was made public, it was clear that Handel's days were numbered.

The message inherent in the sole departure of Handel is that she was behind the decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. In other words, it's a case of a top communicator at an organization being made the scapegoat—not the most original or effective strategy ever used in a crisis.

An unnamed source inside the Komen organization told the Huffington Post that Handel was the "prime instigator of this effort." Handel, meanwhile, told Fox News today that she acknowledges her involvement in the decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, but to suggest that she had sole authority "is just absurd."

To pin the blame on one person doesn't do much to repair the reputation of an organization that has done so much in the fight against breast cancer. More resignations might come as senior leaders look closely at what it will take to truly recover from the past week's events.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI



 




Comments Off

avatar

About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director of events for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Deals of the Week

Get $150 Off PR News' Social Media Summit with Taste of Tech

prn_ms_175x135_ep

Unlike other conferences, you’ll be immersed in the strategies and tactics that you can apply right away to your work as a communicator. You’ll learn what it takes to compete for attention, engagement and positive brand awareness across an array of social media networks.

Use code “150off” at checkout.

Get $50 off PR News' Digital PR & Social Media Guidebook

DigitalPRSocialMedia_PrintDigital_vol6

This guidebook has one essential purpose: helping you maximize your communications effectiveness in the digital world. The articles in this guidebook produced both by the PR News staff and more than fifty communications industry thought leaders, focus on most every facet of digital PR and social media.

Use code “DIGITAL6” at checkout.

Save $100 on a PR News Subscription

Let PR News become your weekly, go-to resource for the latest PR trends, case studies and tip sheets. Topics covered include visual storytelling, social media, measurement, crisis management and media relations.

Use code “SUBDEAL” at checkout.

Comments are closed.