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Damage Control

Flushable Wipes’ Public Image Is in the Sh*tter

The London Fatberg is growingFlushable wipes are fighting a PR campaign in the sewers, where they contribute about a third of the debris choking screens and pumps in U.S. treatment plants.

Over the last five years in New York City alone, more than $18 million has been spent repairing and replacing damage that the anal retentive among us hath wrought:

The globs aren’t unique to New York…in London, a 15-ton wad of wet wipes and cooking grease last year accumulated to the size of a yellow school bus inside a sewer line, preventing neighborhood toilets from flushing. It took more than three weeks for Thames Water Utilities Ltd. to break up the “fatberg.”

Similar blockages have been experienced in Orange County, California; Columbus, Georgia; and Vancouver, Washington. PortlandMaine’s Water District is still paying for the $4.3 million it borrowed in 2009, an amount almost equal to half its annual operating costs, for screens to catch wipes before they ruin pumps. [Bloomberg]

Oh, and there’s more! So very much more.

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CeeLo Leaves Twitter, Loses TV Show After Insensitive Rape Comments

CeeLo Green did not have a good weekend.

After pleading “no contest” to slipping ecstasy into a date’s drink, the singer took to Twitter to share his own completely despicable definition of sexual consent, saying, “People who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!”

Unless, you know, they were drugged. But don’t worry, he went on to address that technicality as well, exclaiming,”If someone is passed out they’re not even WITH you consciously! so WITH Implies consent.”

Oh, that’s how it works!

On Monday, Green attempted to back-peddle by allegedly tweeting the following semi-apologies, which read less like a mea-culpa and more like a celebration of avoiding jail time with a “sorry” to those who supported him sprinkled on top.

The whole I-don’t-condone-rape-thing seems like sort of an afterthought…

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Sexist Headline in The Telegraph Sparks Backlash, Social Media Uproar

When was the last time you saw a headline about a man’s job promotion that read, “Father of Three Poised to Lead Major Company?”

Oh, that’s right. Never. Which is why this recent headline in The Telegraph announcing the expected career move of Rona Fairhead, the former Financial Times chief executive who is likely about to become the first female chair of the BBC Trust, just didn’t sit well with readers.

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Is it true and accurate that Ms. Fairhead is indeed a mother? Yes. Is it a worthy and major accomplishment of which she should be proud? Of course. Is it the most relevant of her accomplishments with regard to her career? Nope.

The paper could have mentioned that she is a longtime businesswoman who holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, or that she was a former employee at Bain & Company and Morgan Stanley and the former CEO of Bombardier’s UK Aerospace Services, or that she is currently a non-executive director at HSBC Holdings. But instead, the paper decided to focus on the novelty of a woman (a mother, no less!) holding such a position of power. Read more

NFL Promises to Crack Down on Domestic Violence

This afternoon the NFL attempted to fight back against one of its biggest reputation challenges by issuing stricter punishments for domestic violence among players.

Will this move pay off? Some details from commissioner Roger Goodell‘s letter to team owners after the jump.

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ESPN Gets the Memo on America’s Disinterest in Michael Sam’s Showering Habits

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We wanted to look the other way too.

ICYMI: The St. Louis Rams drafted a gay guy in the NFL draft this year. Many have discussed this fact. We blogged about it. Everyone is watching it.

However, most of us are also over it.

Michael Sam showed true courage, walked over a line, and took a stand for the LGBT community. And while everyone with a pulse and a non-blackened heart applauded him for that move then, we have all stopped clapping.

Why? It’s old news. ESPN, however, thought a story about Sam’s showering habits in the Rams’ locker room was necessary. A day later, they apologized because social media blew up.

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#PRWin for Edelman: Named No. 2 in ‘Culture and Values’ Poll Behind Twitter

edelmaninternsTo call Edelman’s summer “eventful” would be putting it mildly. Following a tandem of misjudgments and bad press involving climate change and Robin Williams, the agency announced (in The New York Times, no less) that they will now officially consider themselves “a client.”

You might think that employee morale could take a hit in a case like this one, but good places to work generally remain good places to work. The most recent “best places to work” piece from GlassDoor confirms this fact beyond what we personally know about Edelman and some of the stellar people who work there.

In short, GlassDoor.com just released its “2014 Top Companies for Culture and Values” — and Edelman beat everyone in culture and values except this little known start-up called Twitter.

In the world of business, this is called “a good rebound.”

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POLLING ALL PR TYPES: What Do You Want to Be Called?

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Here’s a serious question: What do you want to be called by your colleagues in the industry, pals in the media, partners and clients?

Everyone in this not-quite-fabled industry has an idea of what they like and don’t like, what they hear and ignore, what they answer to and what they wish no one would ever call them.

Some are accustomed to the big agency titles of account executive, manager, director, supervisor, and other synonyms for “hierarchy.” Others are interested in the boutique titles of guru, ninja, expert, and other nom de plumes that mean “badass.”

Before you jump, think about it: If you had to be labeled, what would your label read?

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5 Social Media Mistakes PR People Should Avoid

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It wasn’t too long ago that Justin Sacco, former chief communications officer of IAC (parent company of Tinder, Vimeo and OkCupid), ruined a rather cushy gig thanks to one questionable attempt at humor on Twitter.

She apologized without much fanfare and then finally got a new job (much less cushy) this past June.

While her legacy will go down in the chronicles of PR as a case of “What not to do on social media,” it begs the question for the rest of us: “What should PR people not do on social media?” I have five ideas. Feel free to add to the conversation. Extra points for personal references.

And if someone knows Justine Sacco, tell her that she’s my inspiration. (#Tear)

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Google Removes ‘Bomb Gaza’ Game from App Store After Backlash

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What could possibly be offensive about a mobile game that makes light of the bloody and ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict by encouraging bored Android and tablet users to drop animated explosives on Gaza, where over 1,800 real, human Palestinians have been killed since the start of the fighting? Oh, that’s right — everything.

To make matters worse, the game, titled “Bomb Gaza,” released by developer PLAYFTW, had a “low” maturity rating, meaning children were given the green light to play it. Excellent.

Angry and disgusted complaints flooded the game’s (now-deleted) comments section, and while some comments were political and defended one side of the conflict or the other, the overwhelming sentiment of the outraged objections can be pretty-well summed up by this simple, straight-forward one (heads-up for some swearing):

“WTF There is ongoing conflict in which people are dying and you seem to find it acceptable to make a game of it. That’s fucked up.”

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OKCupid Co-Founder on Emotional Experiments: In 20 Years, No One Will Care

OKCUPIDWe’ve all heard about Facebook‘s ill-conceived “emotional experiment” and OKCupid‘s even better follow-up. While Facebook’s research only concerned slight tweaks in the algorithm that determines which stories show up in users’ news feeds, OKCupid experimented on total strangers who would later meet each other and go on what we call “dates.”

We’re interested in the story primarily because Facebook’s response was simply a blog post that didn’t serve as a very effective piece of self-defense. OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder, on the other hand, has gone all out to defend his company’s practices as the kind of thing we deal with every day as connected individuals — whether we know it or not.

Last week, to follow up on his “yes, we experimented on people, now get over it” blog post, he gave an interview to TLDR, a podcast associated with the excellent NPR show On the Media (which we encountered via the also-excellent Press Think blog).

The fourteen-minute segment is well worth a listen–especially for anyone with clients in social media.

Some key quotes and takeaways after the jump in case you can’t listen or don’t have time.

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