Hollywood Spin-Doctor: Part 2

20 Jan

By: Open Book

Part-1 of this series covered celebrity scandal and the rising demand for it in network news today.  Due to this problem, publicists a.k.a Hollywood Spin-Doctor’s are necessary to navigate the waters for celebrities. However, one of the aspects to a publicist job is managing crisis PR.  Crisis PR is the art of creating diversions or shifting focus off the real issue, which can do the most damage to a celebrity’s public image/interest.  In other words, because the real threat stems from an outside source, it can require a publicist to take more precautionary measures to manage the immediate crisis. Typically, it involves immediate “Shock &  Awe” tactics, which often resembles extreme positive or negative reactions to the situation.

Now there have been good and bad cases of crisis PR. One example took place a few days ago, with The Hollywood Foreign Press Association HFPA, the organization in charge of the Golden Globe Awards. The HFPA hired (returning MC) Ricky Gervais to host the Golden Globe Awards.  However, three days before the event a former PR firm filed a lawsuit claiming the members took bribes in exchange for nominations all of which the HFPA has denied. To keep the television ratings from faltering, the HFPA approved Ricky Gervais, “Shock & Awe” monologue that “roasted” almost the entire audience, which kept viewers glued to their television sets all night. After the event, Gervais became the focal point (due to his outrageous material) and not the HFPA pending lawsuit.

Then there’s the “Hollywood Trend.” According, to the Urban Dictionary it’s defined as ”A publicity stunt which majority of celebrities suddenly start doing to keep their name in the papers/tabloids.”[1]

Do you recall the “Hollywood Trend” of the celebrity sex tape scandals of early 2000? Well this little stunt launched Paris Hilton’s career. Released just in time before her debut reality T.V. show The Simple Life. Paris Hilton’s sex tape was “leaked” onto the Internet and became one of the most popular searched items in 2003 and one of the best selling sex tapes of all time. Now, understand not all celebrity’s resort to such measures some truly are victims of people trying to profit off their popularity. Yet, there are some who take a more experimental approach.  In 1995 Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee Jones were Hollywood’s Internet sex tape pioneers. Yes! That’s right, they released various scenes from their honeymoon and went on to create more tapes in the future, which lasted longer than their marriage.

Celebrities are under constant pressure to reinvent themselves. Therefore, the need to take on new persona’s to gain media attention is necessary some succeed while others fail. Take for example Joaquin Phoenix. In 2009 after watching a lot of reality T.V. embarked on a social experiment, which he explained on David Letterman’s show in 2010[2]

“I’d started watching a lot of reality shows and, um, I was amazed that people believed them — that they called them, like, ‘reality.’ I thought the only reason why is because it’s billed as being ‘real,’ and the people use their real names. … I thought I could handle that. … You just use your name, and people think that it’s real.” You may recall Phoenix’s “mockumentary” entitled “I’m still Here” with Casey Affleck? The movie features full frontal male nudity, topless call girls, tons of drugs etc… The year before the films release, Phoenix went on Letterman and claimed he was quitting acting to become a rapper and mumbled his way through the entire interview.  After the film came out, he apologized to Letterman claiming it was a prank.  However, popular opinion is still unsure if this “mockumentary” was a cover up for his failed attempt as a rapper!

The whole point of crisis PR is an attempt to mange the public’s demand for scandal while protecting their client’s interest.  Some entertainment personalities are commonly known to stage “scandals” for profit and notoriety while some use it as a diversion. Celebrity scandal is very profitable business today and celebrities have become huge targets. Everywhere, from selling their personal information, to outright blackmail which of course happened to David Letterman! Here’s an example of how celebrities are targeted to fulfill the public’s insatiable appetite for scandal. This site actually encourages stalking, one of the most repulsive behaviors in our society today!!!  http://peoplepaparazzi.mainstreamdata.com/

It’s true celebrities are given a lot of privileges due to their ability to entertain us. However, when an organization, celebrity, or fan crosses the boundaries of common decency, humility and or privacy for profit, is when it’s no longer entertainment.




Please join our discussion: Friday January 21st, 7:00pm EST.

78 Responses to “Hollywood Spin-Doctor: Part 2”

  1. kneon65 January 20, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

    Yeah saw that site and I was appalled. Yeah I need money just like the next person, but I would never do something like that, especially after seeing how some celebrities are stalked and treated terribly.

    • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM #

      I agree!!!

  2. Parisienne January 21, 2011 at 1:24 AM #

    Great Article! I hope this opens the eyes of consumers to not believe everything they read/see.

    • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 6:21 PM #

      Thank U!!!

  3. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 6:23 PM #

    Visitors: If u are joining our discussion tonight. Please feel free to comment and join in on the discussion. This is neither private nor exclusive. We welcome your opinion!!!

  4. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:01 PM #

    How do u think celebrities should handle crisis situations with the public?

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:05 PM #

      First I have to ask myself lately – why is this news?
      Then I ask is this all there is for the media to report on is scandal?

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

        Really!!! I think people have become so addicted to celebrity scandal for escape from the real world. I mean I think people look to celebs to entertain us even with their personal lives.

  5. Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:04 PM #

    Hi All!

    The link to that site and it’s very existence is jaw dropping. It encourages the behavior of stalking for profit from anyone. I think there is a line here that’s been crossed. But people have got to stop rewarding media scandals like this. It plays on our very curious nature.

    • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:06 PM #

      Well said!!!

      Do u think when celebrity’s stage publicity stunts it hurts their credibility when they want their privacy?

      • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

        Yes totally. This is not a faucet that can be turned off. I think that’s the issue. Once open its too late.

      • Kim January 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM #

        Well its a fine line, I can understand both sides, they need publicity to sell themselves and their product, but they also want to have some pieces of themselves kept private.

        • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:14 PM #

          So how can celeb promote a film and avoid their personal life? Especially when the public are really into who their dating?

          • Kim January 21, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

            That’s were that fine line comes from. There is always no comment or I don’t comment on my private life.

            • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:20 PM #

              I like that statement. I don’t comment on my private life. The issue is the media has to also stop asking and find another story.

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:30 PM #

                So true!!! But what do they do if ratings drop for it?

            • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:36 PM #

              LOVE THAT STATEMENT!!!

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:37 PM #

                This was to Kim!!

  6. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:10 PM #

    Should celebs ever try to divert attention from a scandal by doing stunts?

    • Kim January 21, 2011 at 7:14 PM #

      No, I don’t think so, if there is a scandal own up to it and show people how to handle them. I would respect someone much more in the way they handle a scandal rather than try to divert attention away.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM #

        I could not agree more. I think it hurts a person’s credibility even more.

        However, do u think celebs need to share every secret they are ashamed of with the public?

        • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

          No, but I think you have to caveat that with what image do I put out there. What is it that the consumer has bought into and buys from you? If there is a drastic change the consumer isn’t going to like it and there will be backlash to some degree. Tiger Woods image clearly to a beating. The life he was leading was ‘exposed’ and was different than what people had been sold. I think most people are accepting of others, but don’t try to sell and image that you can’t ultimately stand behind. The truth always comes out.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:34 PM #

            BRAVO!!!! Well said.

            What do u think about the John Travolta gossip of him being gay?

            Do u think him not talking about it has hurt him?

            • Kim January 21, 2011 at 7:40 PM #

              No, I don’t think it has hurt him. Some times not talking about something is good, other times when things are asked all of the time and talked about its just better to answer it and clear the air.

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:44 PM #

                I agree not every gossip story needs to be addressed especially if it’s not true.

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:18 PM #

      No the diversion tactics only fuel rumors and speculation. In my opinion the issue should be directly dealt with and then no more discussion. Easier said than done, but i think he more avoidance fuels drama.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

        So true!!I think the diversion makes things worse. IMO: People start to speculate and it grows to become far worse than probably the actual scandal.

        • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:26 PM #

          I know this is a political example, however, it applies here as well. When John McCain was part of the Keating 5 scandal. He addressed it head on and he never really lost any political clout because he was pragmatic in the way he handled it with the media and the public.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:31 PM #

            No! This is a great example!!

  7. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:17 PM #

    Do u think Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have done a good job diverting attention off of their scandalous affair?

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:23 PM #

      I think they didn’t divert attention, in so much as they are just living their life. They haven’t talked about it in the press. However, their life together is clearly visible so there is no drama. Same thing with Beyonce and JayZ. They never addressed the ‘dating’ discussions, however it was clear they were together. They never ‘hid’, they just didn’t talk.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM #

        What do u call diversion?

        I think Angelina is a pro at diversion actually. Diversion does not only have to be negative outrageous actions. A celeb can take on positive works which is the complete opposite of the scandal they have committed.

        • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:38 PM #

          Well, when I think of celebrity diversion, Angelina doesn’t come to mind. If her positive works are considered a diversion, I don’t know that I cared enough to consider her motivations. I think the negative press of her and Brad died down because the negative story really was true – in the fact that they were/are a couple. Therefore, no more news. I don’t thin the positive spin- at least for me, changed my view on the first story.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

            Well I think it was about spinning a good public image with a tone a good works hoping it would erase her previous image of stealing men who were already in relationships.

            • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:50 PM #

              Well, her good works, doesn’t change my previous opinion of her previous behavior. We’ve all just moved on. I don’t think her good works undo past behavior.

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:56 PM #

                Well said!! I think the majority of people share your opinion.

                What if she were to do it again with someone else? Do u think her career would be over?

                • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

                  Depends. Consumers seem to pick and choose based on some arbitrary morals. However, Angelina is in a weird situation being a female. The female pull at the box office sucks right now. So could this trash her career given her age? Potentially.

                  • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:20 PM #

                    I agree people do pick and chooses what they are willing to support and not. I think AJ’s relationships are not anyones business she’s not killing anyone. What I can’t understand, people will condemn her and gay men and women but support violence on T.V. and films? Arbitrary morals is right.

  8. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:32 PM #

    Would u be angry if R/K confessed they are a couple and did not admit to it because it was good for publicity?

    • Kim January 21, 2011 at 7:46 PM #

      Wait, I’m confused it they were admitting to being a couple why would not admitting to it be good for publicity?

      I tell you one thing if they are a couple, which I find it hard to believe, then they really need to spend time with me and my husband to see how its done correctly, because they are doing it so wrong.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

        Would u be upset if R/K confessed they pretended to be in a relationship for publicity?

        • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:01 PM #

          No, because in all reality they have not done anything but showed up together at different events. Friends/co-workers do that, but if they came out and said this I wouldn’t be bother with it.

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 7:47 PM #

      Angry is a really strong word. I think the issue for me is the drama we have seen about ‘their lives being invaded’, the ‘hiding’, the avoidance. It’s fueled this media speculation that would not have happened. I feel like the publicity angle really only stands to hurt their personal lives, I can’t imagine having to surrender my life for PR. It almost would be better to be a ‘dating couple’ and then ‘break up’ at least there wouldn’t be a hostage crisis like there is now. Will there be people who will freak out, yes. There are some people who are way too wrapped up in this. I think whatever this situation is, can’t be healthy for either one of them.

      Do I care who people date? Nope, but I’m not a teenage fan.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 7:53 PM #

        These are just hypothetical questions pertaining to R/K I don’t know them, nor do I know the nature of their romantic relationship.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:00 PM #

        Would u explain the hostage crisis u think is happening between the two of them?

        I agree it can’t be a healthy relationship either way but what should they do if they can’t get out of it?

        • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:02 PM #

          What do you mean not get out of it, the relationship or the situation of being seeing as a couple?

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:06 PM #

            Both!! But if I had to choose I say the situation of being seen as a couple.

            • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

              Take the path of least resistance and run with it.

            • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:23 PM #

              Well they have tried the we are friends/co-workers only but certain fans won’t believe it. If they are a couple they need to just come out and say it, if they are just doing it for publicity and aren’t a couple, then I would be seen out with other people and when questioned answer the question. No we are not a couple never have been or Yes, we were a couple but no longer, how ever they want to be. This situation has taken a life of its own and someone is going to lose here.

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM #

                I agree someone is going to loose. My guess would be Summit!!

                Do u think the best thing for R/K to do ignore Robsten fans regardless if Summit tries to spin they are a couple to sell their films in the future?

                • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:42 PM #

                  I think the someone is pandering to the Robsten fans, summit? They may not have a choice.

                  • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:47 PM #

                    I agree especially since their company have been labeled a high risk company to invest in after the TW series is over.

                    • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM #

                      Oh that’s interesting but not surprising. I think if R and K don’t want to play the game any more than they should stop playing the game. If they work together then there really isn’t much Summit can do, but sadly I think K wants to play the game, so it makes it hard for R to step away. Not impossible, but hard. I have to admit I am glad that he is stepping away (at least it appears he is). He needs to because it will eventually affect his career if he is labeled playing these games.

        • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:10 PM #

          Hostage crisis is my way of defining what they have said in interviews. They can’t go out, they stay in their homes, they can’t go shopping. Being holed up at home because you are afraid to be seen out or having your photo taken.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

            O.k. I thought that’s what u meant but just wanted u to clarify it for me.

  9. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:09 PM #

    Many celebs feel publicist are way to overbearing and controlling. Do u think it’s risky for a celebrity to not have a publicist today?

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:20 PM #

      Yes and No, I think its situational.
      If you have some contract issues or something to hide, I think you need one. If you are just living your life and have no skeletons, then no, you don’t need one.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

        Do u think Tom Cruise who fired his PR person (before his appearance on Oprah where he jumped on the coach) Do u think his public image has suffered for it?

        • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:28 PM #

          yes, his public image has really suffered when he kind of went wild during his divorce of Nicole and his then marriage of Katie. He is still trying to recover from this time.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:36 PM #

            I know this was a no brainer.LOL!! However, I had to ask.
            I think he’s really having a time bouncing back. It was stated that if he was still with his PR person when he appeared on O and jumped on the couch, that it would have been edited out by his PR person.

        • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:37 PM #

          Yes, his image suffered because he was consider foolish for his behavior for his age! Will he ever recover? Probably to late given his age.

          • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:43 PM #

            I agree Lurker he was way to out there. They say he was always this way but his PR person kept his childish behavior from the public. What do u think of that? Do u think if we had known the real TC he would not have been as successful?

            • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:48 PM #

              Had the real TC been known, no – he would not have been successful. As a consumer its hard to support individuals with outlandish behavior! Really all the eccentric personalities they may have significant talent, but people cannot relate. There is still an ‘assumed’ behavior in our society, right or wrong.

              • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:54 PM #

                U see this is where I completely agree with u. Real Artist tend to be fairly eccentric that’s normal to them but not to the general public. However, if they get with a non-eccentric person it balances them out. I mean not someone who’s going to be a yes man and not be straight with them..

    • Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:25 PM #

      I would agree. I think having a publicist can be a good thing at times because if you are in a battle with someone trying to hijack your career or your persona, then you may need help in the pr department.

      But, I can see why some may not want a publicist because you don’t want someone making you look like something you are not.

      • Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:33 PM #

        I agree and well said!!

        I think most celebs wan’t to have some privacy and right to make their own decisions. I think this where all the resistance comes from. Also, u are right if a publicist is trying to create this false image of u, that u know u can’t live up to put’s way to much pressure on a celeb. Pressure they don’t need.

  10. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 8:50 PM #

    I would like to give u ladies the last word before we close. We have about ten more minutes to our discussion tonight.

    • Lurker January 21, 2011 at 8:59 PM #

      I think having a PR representative can be a double edged sword. It’s situational and none of us can know all the details that factor into that decision. However, I think there is a reputation protection factor that should be considered. End of the day, if you’re living your life, and have no scandals/skeletons, then there is minimal need for spin control. Spin control becomes a major factor if there is a cover-up and that would require someone at a professional level who can avoid the pitfalls and make a situation worse.

  11. Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:58 PM #

    This is a very interesting topic, its kind of sad that most of the public don’t realize how much they are seeing only what HW wants them to see. We as consumers need to be a little more smarter.

  12. Kim January 21, 2011 at 8:59 PM #

    Good night ladies and everyone reading.

  13. Open Book January 21, 2011 at 9:01 PM #

    Kim and Lurker,

    Thanks for your wonderful commentary tonight. It’s been great getting your thoughts on this topic as always….Have a good night!!

  14. Parisienne January 21, 2011 at 11:30 PM #

    Hi Ladies!

    I’m feeling better so i decided to drop by. Interesting conversation…….Here’s my take on R/K. They are already hanging themselves. They have tried on many occasions to say “we’re just friends.” People didn’t buy that because the “romance” was shoved down consumers throats….so consumers started to “believe the lie.” However, R/K cannot stand each other, its apparent, not only in photos but how they speak to each other as well.

    IMO, if they knew that they wouldn’t have anything talk about to each other on the commentary then they should have had “talking points” they should have spoken to each other about what they would talk about pertaining to the film and not sound like idiots. If he’s trying to help her career perhaps he can hire her a speech therapist as well. On the other hand, they showed the nature of their true relationship, IMO.

    At one time, I thought that R getting a girlfriend or just having someone besides K and Tom to hang out with would be good for him. However, I no longer think this is the case. I think it would backfire on him big time. Perhaps it would seem like “replacing” K to quickly and it would make him lose credibility points in the media. However, he can’t even stand next to a woman without everyone and their brother thinking that its his girlfriend and she’s not K. So in that sense, if I were him….I would walk extremely slowly into the dating pool and make sure that she wouldn’t run and blab everything to the media or leak pics of him online. His privacy has been invaded enough.

    On to TC, if I had a couch to jump on right now I would….lol I have lost all respect for TC. As far as I’m concerned TC’s career is over. I was happy for him when he met Katie, although I thought it was a huge PR stunt to get them both into the papers. I even laughed when he jumped on Oprah’s couch. He did not need to tell Matt Lauer he was glib. Nor did he have to talk about Brooke Shields the way he did. I know he has apologized but don’t throw your own opinions on someone else because he didn’t know what Brooke was going through. He seemed extremely arrogant to me.

    My final thought on all this: It wouldn’t matter now if R/K did say something. Their actions speak louder than their words.

  15. Resguiden February 8, 2011 at 5:16 AM #

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    • Open Book February 9, 2011 at 12:21 AM #

      Thank U!! We’re glad u enjoy our site..

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