The cases of: Harvey Weinstein, Fearless Girl, Fox News’ top Lawyer and Cam Newton – A Motley Crew

What a week, especially in the shadow of the tragedy in Las Vegas.

Finally, the well-kept secrets are out regarding the unacceptable behavior of Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood giant who is clearly on his way to falling from grace. His handlers should be on that journey with him for that tasteless apology. His expose in yesterday’s New York Times was closely followed by the fall from grace for State Street Corporation, the force behind the celebrated Fearless Girl. Next up? The welcome resignation of Fox News’ top lawyer, Dianne Brandi, who abruptly, took a voluntary leave of absence for her role in the continuing sexual harassment controversy. Topping the list but equally sad is Cam Newton’s remarks this week, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. (yes, he apologized only after he lost sponsors and was roasted on social media). All are classic cases of how not to engage in reputation management. The burning question here for public relations pros is, “Is this a reputation I want to manage?”

Weinstein, State Street, Fox and Newton all made hellacious mistakes regarding the treatment of women only making things worse by their inability to truly grasp the heart of the issue, not making an apology of if they did, taking too long to acknowledge the mistake and own it.

Weinstein’s statement was a beauty – He hired a tutor, quoted Jay Z and said he “didn’t know better.” Really?

State Street (paying five million to settle claims it discriminated against 305 top female employees and 15 of its black vice presidents), denies the allegations and told NPR, “It disagreed with ‘the findings of the investigation’ but ‘made a decision to bring this 6-year-old matter to resolution and move forward.’”

Fox’ News Statement on Brandi: “Dianne Brandi is taking voluntary leave,” with no explanation of why she is leaving according to a company statement.

Newton Handling his faux pas? At least he apologized (only after he was rebuked by Dannon, his coach and the NFL) but he did not directly apologize to the reporter who asked the question.

We clearly still have a very long way to go with the treatment of females in the workplace and certainly won’t solve this issue in this blog. However, there are rules of for issuing apologies which are truer now in light of the 24-7 news cycle and they are pretty simple.

Think carefully about public statements in today’s media environment – it can take 30 second to find your way into the PR dog house and years to get out

If a mistake is made, own up to it immediately.

Issue a direct apology as soon as possible, not an excuse.

Actions speak louder than words.


How did we get here? If only the Fearless Girl could speak.