Last week brought news of disgraced general/CIA chief and potential presidential candidate David Petraeus‘s first post-scandal appearance. Petraeus used a speech before a University of Southern California dinner honoring the military to effectively begin his apology tour. We and everyone else in PR are obsessed with damage control, and we feel like Petraeus got it right. Now we’d like to take a moment to relay seven lessons from recent scandal-wracked personalities who didn’t quite get it right.
1. Make it public — but not too public: Whoever told Arnold Schwarzenegger that appearing on every interview show ever to talk about his affairs and his out-of-wedlock child while simultaneously hawking his new book was very wrong.
2. Be humble. Seriously: Jonah Lehrer didn’t get the message that being a public intellectual does not allow you to avoid taking the blame for your own failings by over-intellectualizing the whole thing and pontificating about the why and the how. “I need rules because I don’t trust myself to not be arrogant”? Come on, man.