I know this is a rule of thumb in all of broadcasting, and most of us (with the exception of a newbie sports broadcaster in North Dakota) have heard it: the mic is always hot. Anytime you’re near a microphone, always assume it’s on (even if it’s not).
In other words, be cautious with your comments and treat the airwaves with respect.
With the recent revelations exploding out of the Paula Deen lawsuit, perhaps this should become a rule of thumb about life. If you’re a celebrity, you need to treat every moment outside your front door like there’s an open mic nearby. Especially so if you’re toting around some past indiscretions that, when made public, could alienate a good bit of the population.
It’s very disappointing to hear about her comments and one hopes that she really learns from all this. But let’s all move forward with this thought: be gracious with your comments and treat others with respect. You never know when they might come back to bite you in the rear.
Now that social media is here and can take a comment said a second ago or ten years ago (side-eye to you, too, Abercrombie + Fitch dude), it can suddenly emerge out of the blue and never, ever go away. People can forgive, memories can fade, but the social media record has it logged…forever.
Not to mention testimony in a court case. That’s on the record in a deeply historical way.
Wow—so, what can you say about all the Paula Deen business in the news? In the space of about a week, we’ve watched the beginning of what may very well be the decline of her brand and the collapse of her empire. She’s being sued, she skipped out on a Matt Lauer interview on the TODAY show, Food Network dropped her shows and there’s a blooper reel that is supposed to resurface soon. And I don’t think that will help very much.
It seems like her image is going from sassy to crass at mach speed. It’s breathtaking. It’s fascinating. And it was all preventable.
As someone who spent a few years in public relations, I’m curious about how she’s been advised on handling this situation. Maybe the sad truth is that there is no way to quantify how to “successfully” handle her situation—her own words and behavior have opened the door to all this. But it appears that the situation is not being guided with much strategy or a decent video editor. Did anyone think through how that first video apology really looked?
It appeared edited for time, but turned out to be edited of any meaningful, redeemable substance.
This lawsuit has exposed a more realistic side of a celebrity’s personality. The side that exists when the camera isn’t rolling or an audience isn’t applauding. Can you come back from that? Well, Alec Baldwin is still around. And how many more times can her brand take a beating? Didn’t she just start to recover from the diabetes diagnosis/drug company endorsement controversy? I did notice her Twitter account had an increase in followers by the end of the week.
We’re also getting a good look at how much damage inappropriate words and attitudes can wreak when an employee decides a working environment is too toxic and enough is enough. There seems to be plenty of ammunition and she’s admitted to some really objectionable comments. Makes you wonder if all this would still be a dirty secret instead of front page news if someone would’ve remembered that rule of thumb….