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.”
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
“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.