The past year certainly had its fair share of image crisis and public relations challenges, particularly among public figures. So much so that Forbes recently released a list of the year’s biggest career crashes. The diverse inclusions range from athletes to politicians to journalists, many of whom have been previously discussed on the Red Banyan Group blog.
Check out the full list below along with input from RBG on the PR blunders:
1. Paula Deen –When court documents revealed that the kitchen celebrity had admittedly used a racial slur, Paula Deen’s damage control efforts went into overdrive. As Red Banyan Group discussed in an earlier post, Deen’s poor crisis response likely made the situation worse.
2. Rob Ford – Toronto’s mayor has certainly given himself an infamous reputation in 2013. Following accusations that he had smoked crack cocaine, Mayor Rob Ford’s crisis response was a great example of what NOT to do.
3. Lara Logan – “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan’s image was certainly damaged when an internal review found flaws in her reporting and she was asked to take an indefinite leave of absence.
4. Aaron Hernandez – After being taken into police custody and eventually being charged with murder, Aaron Hernandez’s reputation took a major hit in 2013. The New England Patriots’ crisis response helped keep the team’s image intact, but the future of Aaron Hernandez does not look as bright.
5. Ron Johnson – J.C. Penny’s former CEO had a short-lived tenure at the company after sales and stocks plunged under his leadership. Johnson’s radical changes created a PR crisis for J.C. Penny, from which the company is still struggling to recover.
6. Howard Kurtz –After first trying to cover his tracks on erroneous reporting, Howard Kurtz’s poor judgment damaged his credibility and eventually led to the journalist’s firing from The Daily Beast.
7. Eike Batista – Recently one of the richest men in the worst, Brazilian businessman Eike Batista’s financial blunders in 2013 led to arguably irreparable damage to both his company’s image and his personal brand.
8. Bob Filner – The former San Diego mayor’s sexual harassment scandal earlier this year ultimately led to his resignation a mere nine months into a four-year term. Recently sentenced to 90 days in home confinement, three years’ probation, and a series of fines totaling about $1,500, it’s safe to say that Bob Filner’s public image will never be quite the same.
9. Alec Baldwin –Actor Alec Baldwin’s public relations problems seem to be never-ending. After being embroiled in several recent controversies, Baldwin’s homophobic remarks to a reporter led to the cancellation of “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” after than two weeks on air.
10. Anthony Weiner –There was little questioning that “Weinergate” would forever haunt the former U.S. representative, but after entering the New York mayoral race, additional evidence of Weiner’s “sexting” and lewd online behavior emerged. The revelation led to a major dip in his favorability, the exit of his campaign manager, and eventually his concession in the primary.
While these career crashes were each damaging, some of the public figures in question responded better than others. The lasting damage of these PR crises remains to be seen, but it will likely be a long, hard road for most to regain the public trust and credibility they once had.