Zimmerman Back in Press for Gun Auction

george zimmerman gun auction

Not since the Zimmerman note has a general public hated a Zimmerman more than they do George Zimmerman. The guy’s always in the news for the wrong reasons and just can’t seem to get a clue.

When you, as a private citizen, have managed to engender the type of bone-deep revulsion that Zimmerman has, it’s a good idea to try to make your life as private as possible. Instead, Zimmerman has managed to be in the news for many, many bad days even since he was cleared in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

In the latest made for TV moment, Zimmerman decided it would be a stellar idea to attempt to auction the weapon he used to kill Martin. Now, why would someone want such a weapon? Nothing good was likely to come out of this action, but even Zimmerman could not have imagined what would happen next.

The online auction was hacked and compromised by fake bidders posting massive bids to break the process. According to the Associated Press, as the bidding topped $65 MILLION, a bidder with the obviously legitimate account name “Racist McShootFace” was the leading bidder.

Other names included “Tamir Rice” the Cleveland teen who was killed by police last year after pointing a pellet gun at them.

This didn’t have to go this far or get this embarrassing for Zimmerman. His initial auction attempt was stifled by auction site GunBroker.com, who said they wanted “no part in the listing,” wisely dodging the bullet that this publicity would bring. Another site, United Gun Group, was less discreet, offering to pick up the auction last week. Things almost immediately went south.

Critics said the auction was an attempt by both Zimmerman and United Gun Group to profit from killing. Others simply took yet another opportunity to publicly blast Zimmerman.

George only fanned the flames when he said a portion of the proceeds would be donated to “fight violence by the Black Lives Matter movement,” specifically violence against law enforcement. The guy definitely knows his audience. That statement touched off a firestorm of pro and anti-BLM and police banter online, which, of course, went nasty quick. Pent up anger and frustration completely unrelated to George Zimmerman fed the vitriol.

This situation is a strong example of what can happen when brands, names, and individuals become surrogates for larger ideas or causes. Sometimes, one man’s hero is another man’s devil … and sometimes that hero-devil can’t stop himself from stirring the pot. With controlled and professional PR representation, this pot-stirring approach can be very profitable. But Zimmerman’s scattershot approach to media is more about getting attention than increasing his marketability.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

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