Do you remember the moment that everything changed in the world of entertainment PR? This LA Weekly story proposes it was the moment we started saying that Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch. The article makes the case that he didn’t do that, but the Internet made it so.
At that time, Tom Cruise had made some of the movies he’s most known for – The Color of Money, Rain Man, Top Gun, Born on the Fourth of July — and had been crowned the third Greatest Movie Star of All Time by Premiere magazine. That was also the point where Perez Hilton and other entertainment blogs were starting to make their mark. And the same month of Cruise’s appearance on Oprah, YouTube had been unleashed upon the world.
Up to this point, Cruise had been pretty conservative about speaking publicly outside of his film appearances. He also had a powerhouse publicist by his side, Pat Kingsley. Because she worked with a number of A-list stars and entertainment journalism was confined to the print pages of magazines like People, she was able to manage media coverage of her clients with a firm grip. If she wanted to shut something down, she could make a call and do it.
But the article points out the free-for-all that blogs and viral video made of celebrity media. Particularly because stars — not used to the round-the-clock brutal coverage — said and did things out in the open that they didn’t think would get out (or be of interest if it did).