Basketball stars have always created controversy on and off the court. Gilbert Arenas is no exception. A former point guard for the Washington Wizards, Arenas brought firearms to his team’s locker room, creating a PR disaster. According to ESPN, Arenas brought the firearms because team member Javaris Crittenton had a disagreement over a gambling debt. The final punishment for his actions was suspension from playing any games for the rest of the season.
Not only has Arenas destroyed his image, he also decided to make gun references with his hands in a team huddle showing that he has no remorse for his actions (sports.espn.go.com).
This was a PR disaster for Gilbert Arenas publicist because it is his or her job to rebuild the image he has just tarnished. Colin O’Keefe, a sports writer for Pastthepressbox.com, gives a few options on how to gain back the image lost and the trust of the fans again:
1. Show some humility- Acknowledge when you are wrong. In Gilbert Arenas’ case, he needs to apologize for his actions and if he offended anyone with his pregame joke.
2. Have a voice- Take to Twitter, Facebook and any social media outlet to explain what happened from your own perspective and apologize personally to your fans and team. Arenas’ PR team is in charge of making sure what he says makes his image better but at the same time sounds like himself.
All athletes make ethical errors that may directly affect their jobs but it’s their publicist’s job to teach and even tell them how they should handle it in a personal manner like tweeting to fans. The publicist’s job is to rebuild their client’s image when mistakes are made.
The thing that makes the celebrity world so interesting isn’t the celebs’ actual careers but the crazy episodes a lot of stars seem to experience. From cocaine overdoses to hookers and many failed and disturbing marriages, Charlie Sheen seems to top them all.
Charlie Sheen, who is most famous for his starring role in Two and a Half Men on CBS, is all over the media right now: participating in interviews, recording his own webcast show and creating some of the most memorable quotes that are repeated constantly. This extreme behavior is not out of the ordinary for Sheen. Starting early on in his career he has had major drug problems. He also shot Kelly Preston and chased his most recent wife, Brooke Mueller, around their house with a knife threatening to kill her. These past incidences are terrible, and foreshadowed what will come to be one of Hollywood’s most notorious meltdowns ever (www.etonline.com).
Most would think that this kind of behavior would affect his career in the worst way possible but in some aspects his breakdown may be a genius move. Although he was fired from his TV show in which he made $2 million an episode, he is making money and headlines with his interviews, webcast, and now upcoming tour. Sheen may think this is a smart move now but soon the hype will phase out.
Charlie Sheen’s publicist quit on him recently but any publicist would do his best to manage the damage Sheen has done. Publicists can’t do that though unless the client allows them too and from the looks of things, Sheen didn’t. Sheen should follow some simple PR rules to help make his image a little better if he is going to be his own publicist. According to Hanley Freeman, writer for The Guardian, celebrities in Sheen’s predicament should not talk to the public directly through podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, etc. They should limit talk show appearances, unlike what Charlie Sheen has done, and ditch any extra people who are just along for the fame that comes along with a manic meltdown (www.guardian.co.uk).
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.