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Posts Tagged ‘Evil people’

UK’s Worst Rep Gets Up to Eight Years in Prison for Sexual Assault

max-clifford-214x300Our long international nightmare is over: Max Clifford, the man who taught far too many people that the best way to get attention is to make stuff up, has been handed eight sentences of between six and 24 months each, to be served consecutively.

His presence and outsized influence cast an unfortunate shadow over the UK’s PR industry for decades, and now–according to the judge in his case–he will spend at least four years in jail for crimes best unmentioned.

As much as we’d all like to forget Mr. Clifford, his ten-step guide to getting famous is still unfortunately relevant. And his number one client Simon Cowell, who has already left large footprint on our culture, doesn’t show signs of disappearing anytime soon–even though he couldn’t manage to sustain two simultaneous glorified karaoke contests on network television.

Now let us never speak of Mr. Clifford again.

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UK’s Best-Known Publicist Also a Huge Pervert with a Tiny…Ethical Compass

max-clifford-214x300Max Clifford, the United Kingdom’s most infamous publicist and owner of amazing eyebrows, is doing a great job protecting his own reputation as a huge pervert with a very, very small…sense of ethics.

The hits keep coming from Clifford’s ongoing trial for various and sundry sex offenses. Let’s review the tabloid headlines, shall we? Clifford supposedly:

There’s more, and it’s all incredibly disturbing.

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Bribes, Blockades and Blackmail: Inside China’s ‘Black PR’ Industry

Bo XilaiWe all know that public relations can get a little…insane at times. Bad behavior, lawsuits, internal leaks…we’ve got it all, right? Sure we do–but when it comes to crazy we can’t even compete with China. A “shocking expose” first reported by the People’s Republic’s Caixin magazine and translated by the Tech in Asia blog reveals a seedy PR underworld in which firms earn millions every year on the strength of bribery and blackmail–all committed in the name of media relations and reputation management.

The primary players in this sordid saga are two firms called Yage Times and XinXun Media. What did these firms do, exactly? They specialized in getting negative news stories about clients removed from prominent websites–but it all goes much deeper than that.

Not only would these companies bribe site runners to delete “unflattering” posts–they also paid their friends in IT to have related search terms blocked on Baidu, the Chinese equivalent of Google. Imagine entering “Beyoncé lip sync” or “Burger King horse meat” into your browser and coming up with a big fat nothing and you’ll get the general idea.

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PR Fail: Iran Sends a Monkey Into Space, Brings a Different Monkey Back to Earth

Iran’s space program is kind of like North Korea’s search for mythical horse-like creatures: Officials say it’s moving along, and you don’t really believe them, but you’re still a little concerned because what if unicorns are real? How much of the world have we all been missing?

Today we’d like to offer some advice to all despotic, murderous dictators: If you want to be the news, you need to get the news right the first time.

Iran’s oppressive Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (think “I’m a dinner jacket”) regime managed to score a bit of media attention last week by proclaiming that it had launched a monkey into space. This was a major event for a country with very few friends that desperately wants to demonstrate its own power to the rest of the world. Over the weekend, the administration’s PR wing triumphantly announced the safe return of said monkey to Earth.

Welcome to the 20th century, Iran!

But wait: the Times of London observes that the two photos provided by Iran’s media relations people most definitely do not depict the same monkey. The little fella on the right has a mole that really gives it away, but come on.

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PR Fail: The Taliban Reveals Its Entire Mailing List

Taliban Fighters Sometimes the news is truly stranger than fiction—and sometimes karmic justice provides us with a much-needed laugh.

Today in PR fails that make us smile, The Taliban’s PR team (yes, that is a thing) sent out a press release last week…OK, yeah, let’s just consider that one for a minute: a press release from the Taliban.

Anyway, spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmedi wanted to forward an email from another Taliban spokesman to every contact on the terrorist organization’s email list. The problem? He mistook “carbon copy” for “blind carbon copy” and hit send—so everyone on the list could see the addresses of everyone else who received the message.

The list included more than 400 names; most were journalists, but the group also included quite a few members of the Afghan government in addition to some professors, political activists and even a few sympathetic warlords (who probably had Hotmail accounts). We know one thing: somebody’s Facebook pages are about to get hacked.

This isn’t just a PR fail for the Taliban—it’s also a stinging indictment of the Afghan government. All due to the kind of mistake our grandma might make while sending us one of those chain emails about the amazing numerical coincidences the will occur in the year 2011. Sounds like the Taliban needs a little help in the PR department, doesn’t it?

Any takers? No? We didn’t think so. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer group of guys.

BP Agrees to Pay Highest Fine in History for Gulf Spill

BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Spill BP‘s hopes of negotiating an out-of-court settlement regarding the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill officially died today as the company agreed to pay a $4.5 billion dollar fine to the US government. That total includes reparations owed to government agencies like the SEC and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation along with $1.3 billion in criminal fines–the largest such penalty in history.

Perhaps even more significantly, the company also admitted its own culpability in the deaths of 11 rig workers as part of the agreement and confessed to lying to members of congress about the scale of the damage. And that’s not all: two BP employees will face felony charges of manslaughter relating to their roles in the deaths.

We can’t say we envy the firm responsible for dragging BP’s reputation out of the gutter. The company’s Olympics ads may have been surprisingly effective in boosting consumer perceptions, but we can’t imagine this latest development going over too well with an already skeptical public. BP won’t be getting past this you-know-what anytime soon.

Despite all the noise, BP still managed to make a $5.5. billion profit in the third quarter alone–so brace yourself for a glut of commercials starring oil-splattered birds, wrecked homes and Good Samaritans who just happen to be wearing BP logos.

Clowns Foil Joint KKK/Neo-Nazi Rally

Today in Humanity Might Actually Be OK News, we bring you the coolest video we’ve seen all day. In summary: Groups representing the Neo-Nazi National Socialists and the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan decided to hold a joint rally near Charlotte, North Carolina last week, because why the hell not? Two peas in a pod, right?

These guys probably expected some people to yell at them, call them bigots, throw a couple of sticks and a lot of frowns…you know, the usual side effects of a public gathering. But this day found them surprised by what we can only call a crowdsourced PR stunt: a group of locals arrived to interrupt the groups’ anti-immigrant rants with horns and big red noses. That’s right, they dressed as clowns. The message was clear: we don’t take you seriously. As one protester put it: “We’re dressed like clowns and you’re the ones that look funny.” And that’s just about all that need be said.

BBC Directors Quit Over Handling of Pedophilia Scandal

Jimmy Savile BBC pedophileImagine this nightmare scenario: A well-known TV/radio host and media personality–let’s say Johnny Carson–dies peacefully after spending decades in the public eye as a respected entertainer, philanthropist and occasional newsmaker.

As the public mourns, a series of women currently in their 30′s and 40′s reveal inappropriate relations with the entertainer that occurred when they were still in their formative years, living at boarding houses and rehabilitation centers for troubled children. As the weeks go on, the number of accusers grows from a few to a dozen, then to several hundred. The worst part? Many of these women reported the abuse as it happened, but no one listened to them because the man in question was a celebrity beloved by an entire nation.

This is the story that’s captivated Great Britain for the past month–and it’s not going away anytime soon. The man was Jimmy Saville, and according to his many, many accusers, he molested teenage girls throughout his nearly 50-year career as a BBC TV/radio host and king of celebrity fundraisers. Yet many in the media seemed to accept him as an eccentric character with an unhealthy attraction to adolescent women. Friends and associates would often say, “Oh, that’s just Jimmy.”

Yuck. And it gets worse.

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More Charges Filed in Penn State Case

Another chapter in the long, sundry case of Penn State and Jerry Sandusky further emphasizes the challenges faced by Edelman PR, La Torre Communications and the institution itself as all work to restore the school’s previous reputation for greatness in both sports and academics.

Unfortunately, this latest update will undoubtedly inflict more damage on the school: it concerns staff attempts to cover up, deny or, at the very least, minimize the scandal. Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly just announced charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, endangering the welfare of children, and failure to report suspected child abuse against former University President Graham Spanier.

That’s quite a list–and we didn’t even mention the additional charges brought against the school’s former athletic director and vice president of business and finance, both of whom await trial in January.

Spanier’s greatest offense? After stepping down, he claimed that no one had ever mentioned the possibility of ongoing child abuse during his time at Penn State–but the email trail told a very different story.

Penn State’s board members and PR reps have been wishing Spanier would slink away and disappear for some time: first they argued over whether he’d resigned on his own volition after “going rogue and altering a press release that had been a collaborative effort”, and then he participated in this very ill-advised interview for some unknown reason.

Penn State and its PR organizations will never have to defend Graham Spanier again. Unfortunately, the law is far from done with him–and his case will expose the public to yet another angle on a tragic tale that can never be untold.

Worst Branding Ever: Accused Rapist Debuts ‘Four Loko Defense’

The toxic combination of caffeine, alcohol and corn syrup known as Four Loko got a lot of bad press a couple of years ago thanks to Chuck Schumer and a few other buzzkills with time on their hands (like Brooklyn Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, who wasn’t afraid to use his own vomit to make a point).

After the company caved and removed the caffeine from its products, a whole bunch of other beverage makers like Colt 45 decided to cash in on the “dangerous sugar drink” craze. Politicians had some new enemies, but Four Loko just kept chugging along.

The worst news regarding the infamous Loko involved reports of young people blacking out after drinking it—and now, in a frankly disgusting turn of events, a man accused of raping a woman in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park has debuted the “Four Loko defense”, claiming that he was too intoxicated by the sugary drink to remember what happened that night—the implication being that he should therefore not be held responsible.

Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but did we mention that this guy is both homeless and a twice-convicted sex offender? The accused allegedly told officers “I drank five Four Lokos, Grey Goose vodka, smoked marijuana and K2. I was going toward the Brooklyn Bridge and was going to jump off the bridge.”

Ugh.

We guess that, when a product is best-known for its ability to help one “get blotto”, reports like this one can’t do too much damage to the brand. But based on the frankly disturbing photo attached to this story, we know somebody somewhere does publicity for Four Loko—and we can’t imagine that person is too terribly happy with his or her job right now.

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