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Ethics

Man Sues New York Tech Firm for Sexual Harassment

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Today in Unfortunate Headlines news, a former account coordinator at a Manhattan tech PR firm has filed suit against his co-workers and his boss. The legal matter addressed in the suit is (alleged) sexual harassment and its dismissal by company executives.

Sound familiar?

We won’t go into too many details as you can read them in the complaint itself:

We’ll just say it looks like a bit of a mess.

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Bode Miller Defends NBC Reporter After She’s Slammed for ‘Tone-Deaf’ and ‘Shameful’ Interview

After becoming the oldest medalist in Olympic alpine history, Bode Miller found himself in an interview with NBC reporter Christin Cooper, who questioned him repeatedly about the death of his brother, and how that loss has shaped his experience at the Olympics. While such personal questions are often asked of athletes in this type of situation, Cooper seemed not to take any of the hints that her line of questioning was pushing Miller into an extremely emotional state, and she failed to let up until he had broken down into tears, hidden his face, and had been rendered speechless.

The scene sparked an angry outcry from fans and journalists alike, who felt Cooper lacked tact and sensitivity. The AP’s David Bauder, for instance, called the interview “tone-deaf and cruel, and short-circuited the thoughtful, intelligent perspectives Miller had started to offer until he couldn’t talk anymore,” and The New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir wrote that “Cooper and NBC lacked the sensitivity to know when enough was enough.”

In a classy and kind response to the uproar, Miller himself took to Twitter to thank his fans for expressing their concern for his well-being, but also to defend his interviewer.

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Here’s How NOT to Respond to a Copyright Issue: Magazine Sends Photographer Profanity-Laced, Threatening Email

We’ve been following Adweek‘s coverage of a he-said-she-said fiasco too bizarre to be ignored, and now that both parties have provided the news source with conflicting statements, the behavior of the magazine involved seems to have gone far past questionable and has entered the realm of actively self-destructive. In fact, if PR failures were presents, this debacle would be the gift that just keeps on giving.

Kathy Shea Mormino, who runs the popular backyard chicken website The Chicken Chick, says it all started when a fan alerted her that one of her copyrighted photos appeared on Survival Magazine‘s blog and Facebook page. As the magazine had not asked her permission to use her photograph, Mormino says she sent a Facebook message and an email to the publication, explaining the situation and requesting that her image be removed. When the magazine did not respond to her messages or take down the picture, Mormino filed a copyright infringement complaint with Facebook, which led the social network to remove the photo from the magazine’s Facebook page.

The magazine’s response to Mormino’s actions shocked her so much, that she shared it (along with the below screenshot as proof) with her fans on her own Facebook page, saying, “THIS is the email I just received from Survival Magazine. What on earth is WRONG with some people?!”

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THIS JUST IN: McGruff the Crime Dog Caught with ‘Tree’

THIS JUST IN 2Back in the roaring 80s, there was a PSA that took a life of its own with McGruff the Crime Dog.

This cartoon bloodhound was created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi via the ubiquitous Ad Council. McGruff was the mascot for the National Crime Prevention Council and U.S. police departments all knew about him, used him and patrolled with him.

McGruff was awesome because he had this James Cagney-esque of 1920 gangster talk to “Coppers” but he was one of the good guys, SCHE-EEEEE? Drugs. Bullying. Safety. All of it was in a concentrated effort to “Take a Bite Out of Crime.”

And now that big bite was taken out of McGruff’s behind as John R. Morales was sentenced this week to 16 years and three months in federal prison on drug and weapons charges after police found more than 1,000 marijuana plants and 27 weapons, including grenade launchers, at two indoor farms.

The 41-year-old former actor pleaded guilty and says he “entered the drug trade to help sick relatives.”

‘Unapologetic’ Barbie to Appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Embargoed_Barbie_2014_Actual_SI_Spread_Image_2.11.14In a world in which ad campaigns are making headlines for saying “no” to Photoshop and some brands are committing to embracing broader, more realistic standards of beauty, others make no apologies in the face of many years of criticism for promoting unattainable, unrealistic ideals. So, we guess it’s about time two of those brands team up and defiantly, proudly, (bravely!) refuse to change. Or apologize. Together.

Aw, solidarity. How sweet.

A new campaign for Barbie will find the doll posing for her very own spread in the upcoming 50th installment of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, along with the tagline “Unapologetic.” The magazine will also be bringing back other Swimsuit “legends” to celebrate its 50th issue.

Now check out what a Mattel spokeswoman said about the campaign:

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PR Vet Plans Hunger Strike to Protest Industry’s Lack of Diversity

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First, the indisputable fact: PR has a diversity problem. This is not breaking news.

PRSA and other organizations have long attempted to encourage greater diversity within the industry via various outreach and education programs, but as MWW SVP and PRSA national chair Joe Cohen told PR Week, “It’s no secret that ethnic and racial minorities are underrepresented…the actual numbers are staggering.”

One guru, however, has chosen to take action: today we received a release from Mike Paul—better known as The Reputation Doctor—announcing his plans to stage a two-day hunger strike protesting the lack of diversity in “PR Firms, Advertising Firms & Corporate Communications Divisions of Leading Corporations.”

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Well, It’s About Time to Hate the Girl Scouts…for Political Endorsements?

Typically, around this time of the year, people are avoiding storefronts and grocery stores because the Girl Scouts are out pimping its Samoas, Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints and other sinful cookies. They bum rush people trying to get to the organic food section and end up walking away with about one trillion calories in their bag.

That’s not this type of hatred.

No, it seems the lovely girls of cookie shilling has dipped its pretty, pink toenail into the pool of political endorsements. Wait, what? Yup, and it’s all because of this tweet. We’ll explain more after the jump…

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Why PR Firms Should Never Go ‘Incognito’

Nancy Reagan NoYes, yes, NFL lovers. I hope you see what I did there. That bit of brilliance notwithstanding, PR agencies often dredge up the stereotypes in this business by not willing to ever say the classic Nancy Reagan safe word, “No!”

(And for you kids in the audience, Nancy Reagan was an important woman. Look it up.)

Many agencies are whoring out services to people who either don’t deserve the attention or just for esses-and-giggles because the challenge is fun. This time, it’s both.

Ladies and germs, NFL outcast and resident bully bigot Richie Incognito has a PR firm.

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STUDY: 21% of Users Write Reviews for Products/Services They Have Never Tried

negative-reviewSometimes, products, services and companies fully deserve the harsh reviews they may get online–bad service, shoddy products and questionable business practices are all valid reasons to call out the culprits and warn others away from a potentially negative experience. Not only can such reviews act as a public service, but some are hugely entertaining (you’ve seen Amazon’s review page for these Haribo gummy bears, right?).

But what if the online reviews upon which customers are basing purchasing decisions are totally fabricated?

According to recent YouGov research, a surprising 21% (one fifth!) of Americans who have reviewed a product or service online say they have done so without ever buying, using or trying that product or service. Who would do this, you ask? Surely this is the behavior of young, bored, immature kids, right? Wrong. We’re talking adults, here. And not just any adults–parents. Read more

Aerie Commits to Photoshop-Free Lingerie Ads, Draws Mixed Reactions

aerie-0Every time I scroll through the Victoria’s Secret website on the hunt for a new bra or a pair of yoga pants, I feel a wider range of mixed emotions than should ever accompany the purchase of anything but a pregnancy test.

After somewhat unwillingly feasting my eyes on the ridiculously retouched images that were once, presumably, pictures of human beings, I feel disgusted by a culture that so drastically alters women’s bodies to sell fashion; I feel ashamed that I am supporting this concept by buying the damn yoga pants; and I feel a certain maniacal glee that results in out-loud laughter at how absurd some of the particularly horrendous botch jobs are–clearly-missing ribs, grotesquely-stretched legs and necks, and, sometimes, body parts that don’t even seem to connect to each other.

By the end of my transaction, however, I sigh with a sense of heavy acceptance that this is “just how it is,” and then feel a bit angry and guilty about that acceptance.

All just to buy some underwear.

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