Misquoting Mishaps

Ever heard of Bieber Fever? In case you haven’t, Justin Bieber is one of the hottest teen singing sensations at the moment and also one of the most criticized.

In a controversial interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Justin Bieber was asked  his opinion on sex, drugs, abortion and rape. These controversial topics caused uproar because these questions may be perceived as inappropriate for a 16-year-old boy and his answers were unfortunately misquoted.

Rolling Stone quoted Bieber as saying, “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.” But what Justin Bieber really said was, “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don’t know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.” This misquoting led to many unpleasant discussions on Bieber’s behalf, causing him to seem insensitive to serious topics. This story ran on the most popular celebrity blog site, Perez Hilton.

Damage control for this kind of error is crucial for not only Justin Bieber but also any celebrity who is misquoted in an interview.  T.J. Walker of the Huffington Post says, “The rule I teach my clients is that when you are in a media interview, every single sentence and every phrase out of your mouth could be quoted in isolation so you have to make sure that each idea can stand on its own. Complex ideas in media interviews are usually dangerous for that very reason.”

It is the job of any public relations team or publicist to take charge in these situations and make sure the quote is correct and understood by the public. It is extremely important to media train celebrities in correct way to handle the easiest and the hardest interview questions.

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