September 19, 2013
Handling Bad Celebrity PR
Crossing The Public Line
However, there are those things which are simply over the line. The public may like the image of a rebel or someone who breaks the rules, but they tend to be less forgiving if people are actually hurt, or their image of a straightlaced person is shattered. For example, a DUI is always a bad press moment, since drunk driving is a more taboo act in the eyes of the public. If the person involved is seen as having a more sweet and innocent public persona, such as what happened to Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes, then the fallout tends to be much worse.
So how are things like this generally dealt with? There have been many different approaches over the history of celebrity public relations disaster aversion, and while each situation is a little different and unique, the basics still remain the same. The general public likes someone who owns up to their actions, and apologizes. Once that is done, if there can be an explanation that shifts the blame elsewhere, then that usually happens. Apologies are generally meant to be heartfelt, and teamed with some kind of compensatory action, such as volunteerism, or large donations to a charity related to the faux pas.
This is sometimes coupled with a public announcement that the celebrity in question is seeking some kind of counseling for a condition related to the incident, like sex addiction for Tiger Woods after he cheated multiple times on his wife, or Mel Gibson blaming alcoholism for his anti-Semitic rants, then going to rehab. Generally, the first rule is apology, the second is finding a way to shift blame so that the public feels sorry for the celebrity, and finally, show that the celebrity is back on their feet and better than ever, because everyone loves a famous person who capitalizes on a second chance.