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Posts Tagged ‘TMZ’

How to Turn a Jeopardy! Contestant into a Viral Celebrity

Well…not really. But the Arthur Chu story is an amusing example of TMZ’s pitching style. We got an email with the headine “Jeopardy Villain Arthur Chu — I’m NOT a Bad Guy … Just Greedy As Hell”, which is a generous spin on the man’s own comments, to say the least.

The copy is just as hyperbolic (emphasis ours):

“11-game “Jeopardy” champ Arthur Chu – widely criticized for his cocky attitude and unorthodox playing style — insists he’s not such a bad guy in real life … minus his unquenchable thirst for money.

As for what he plans to do with his massive check — watch the video.”

We already did—and it was almost as anticlimactic as the True Detective finale. But we do like this guy a lot more after watching it.

In case you wondered what the reps for such accidental celebrities do, take note of Mr. Chu’s publicist in the background. Does she look a little relieved as the interview comes to an end, or is that just us?

Mediabistro Course

Storytelling for Media Professionals

Storytelling for Media ProfessionalsStarting April 22, this in-person workshop will teach you the specific ways to incorporate storytelling into your personal and professional life. Students will examine the role of storytelling in business and put their newfound skills into practice with a series of improvisation, writing, and presentation exercises designed to help them uncover personal stories. Register now! 

Drake ‘Disgusted’ at Rolling Stone, Which Dropped His Cover Shot for Philip Seymour Hoffman

Last Friday Rolling Stone told Drake and his media team that it would pull his planned cover for one featuring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. The corresponding interview/profile, posted today after a teaser, also included some negative comments Drake made about friend and collaborator Kanye West‘s most recent album—quotes he apparently meant to be off the record.

For some reason, however, the rapper didn’t get pissed about it until this morning.

This tweet followed two since-deleted messages:

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Lindsay Lohan Sues Grand Theft Auto V

Art imitating life -- if ever there was an example.

Art imitating life — if ever there was an example.

In what has to be a dire attempt to get back in the spotlight comes teen-star turned crack-ho trollop Lindsay Lohan. She has nothing better to do these days than … well, lines … so I’m sure she and her near-out-of-work publicist are taking in a few video games to pass the time.

And that’s when the epiphany struck and a PR story was born.

Broken by trash diggers and snoop shooters TMZ.com, “LiLo” (as the kids in rehab call her) insists that’s her on the game and no one asked her permission to use her image. There’s even part of a game that “features a mission where a Lindsay Lohan look-alike asks the player to take her home and escape the paparazzi.” So, naturally, the report is the former ‘Mean Girl’ wants to sue Rockstar Games for a truckload of cash.

Rumor is Lohan also noticed GTAV also features a mission at a hotel resembling Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood — a place where Lohan visits often and lived for a period of time. No word on if this mysterious character goes on a cocaine binge in the game, but reporters are digging.

Gossip Writers: Social Media Made Celebrity Image Management Easier Than Ever

i.2.scandal-manual-gossip(George) Rush and (Joanna) Malloy were two of America’s best known old-school gossip columnists, but they decided to call it quits three years ago? Why?

In a complaint that will sound familiar to every journalist everywhere, they say they’d had it with celebs’ newfound ability to manage their images more effectively with social media, thereby reducing the value of the honest-to-goodness journalists who write regular columns in print (even if those columns are all about drug addictions and affairs and other gutter-hugging topics).

Oh, and they wanted to write a book that they then promoted with this Vanity Fair interview.

Some quotes:

“Keeping up with the Kardashians and other reality stars became nauseating. More and more, celebs were able to use social media to sidestep the columns, and most of the traditional media. They could spin their own version of the truth.”

“If I wanted to go into marketing, I would have gone to business school.”

In other words, celebrity news and marketing are now one and the same—right, Kim?

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Teddy Bear Org Shamelessly Criticizes Miley for Free Publicity

Ever heard of The Teddy Bear Fund? Neither had we—until we read news that the organization, a nonprofit apparently created “for kids and by kids” and dedicated to handing out teddy bears to abused children, contacted TMZ to issue a statement about Miley Cyrus’ recent defamation of the beloved stuffed animal.

Miley made a poor choice to use a universally loved children’s teddy bear in an offensive way. There is always good art and bad art — unfortunately … this was bad art. Hopefully she might consider reversing this situation by giving lots of teddy bears to children in need of comfort.

This is a pitch disguised as some sort of protest. As much as we approve of giving teddy bears out at shelters, we find it more than a little icky.

Yes, we know we promised not to mention this stupid story again, but this was a pretty good example of how not to make the most of a pop culture “controversy”. Unlike Apple, we’re not perfect—and no, we will not link to TMZ.

The Friday Dump: Kris Humphries Thinks Lamar Odom Should Fear ‘The PR Spin Machine’

Today in Oh God, We Went There news, NBA free agent and E! Entertainment property Lamar Odom was arrested this morning for suspicion of DUI in Los Angeles after cops saw him doing that whole “driving erratically” thing. This is a terribly unfortunate story, yet despite the fact that we have never willingly watched the show that shall not be named, we almost feel like we saw it coming—and so, apparently, did Kris Humphries.

Earlier in the week, we received a totally unverifiable tip that a West Hollywood PR firm connected to that family had hired a crisis management specialist famous for rehabilitating the images of flailing celebrities, the implication being that this pro was there to either prevent or clean up a disaster.

We really don’t care, but according to yet another anonymous source who somehow found enough good will in his or her heart to contact Radar Online, Humphries wants Odom to know that the family’s “public relations spin machine” might damage his basketball career. Both men think that they used their PR connections to leak inflammatory stories to a certain gossip website (which might just happen to be TMZ).

We’re starting to think the entire city of Los Angeles and every firm within it should sue these people for defamation of character.

Oh, and a great Labor Day weekend to you, too! Make sure not to watch any Kris Jenner Show reruns.

*Photo via jdbartlett/deviantart

Weinstein, Toy Company Recall Django Unchained Slave Action Figures

"Django Unchained" action figures Here’s a controversy that isn’t quite as blatant and ridiculous as the one surrounding Anthropologie‘s super-racist candlestick but still serves as an interesting case study in badly planned promotional campaigns.

The National Entertainment Collectibles Assocation (NECA), a company that makes toy lines based on film properties, recently decided to pull a line of action figures based on Quentin Tarantino‘s current spaghetti western/slave revolt blockbuster Django Unchained. Why? Because most of the black characters are slaves–and some of the white ones are slave masters. This didn’t sit so well with some.

We haven’t seen the movie and we don’t want to get into the debate over the film’s very liberal use of “the n-word”, but we are a little baffled by the very concept of toy lines from a Tarantino film (though we wouldn’t mind having a little 7-inch version of Tim Roth’s Reservoir Dogs character on our desk).

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Elmo Resigns After Second Accuser Files Suit

Kevin Clash with ElmoSeems like we just can’t quite keep up with the ongoing PR crisis surrounding puppeteer Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo. After a man accused Clash of having an “improper relationship” with him when he was 16, recanted and settled, then tried to re-file his claim, today brings news of a second man looking to take Clash to court.

According to TMZ, an unnamed accuser in his 30′s filed a lawsuit against Clash today. He claims that the two met on a gay phone chat line when he was 15 and Clash was 32–and that they maintained an ongoing relationship.

And now for the predictably gory details: This latest accuser claims that, although the relationship began nearly 20 years ago, he did not take legal action until now because he “did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash’s sexual acts and conduct until 2012″. The lawsuit even veers into character assassination, citing Clash’s “depraved sexual interests” and claiming that he used his status as an entertainer to “[prey] on teenage boys.”

Oh, and this guy’s legal team learned something from the first settlement: their filing included a demand for “more than $5 million.”

We wish we had no more to report on this unfortunate story. Even if the latest case ends with a settlement or a dismissal of all charges, the legal saga will continue to be a major headache for the Sesame Street brand.

UPDATE: Sesame Workshop just released a statement announcing that Kevin Clash has resigned from Sesame Street in the wake of these newest allegations, citing the puppeteer’s conclusion that “he can no longer be effective in his job”. A sad day for the whole team.

PR and Porn Part 2: The Insider

In yesterday’s first chapter of our week-long series “PR and Porn,” we introduced you to Brian Gross: PR pro, agency founder and one of the top publicists currently working in the adult entertainment industry.

Today Brian goes into greater detail about how the industry runs—and points us toward one of his most unique and successful clients.

You may have wondered how the adult film industry looks from the inside. When asked who wields the real power in the business, Brian says:

“It’s definitely the producers—the heads of companies like Adam and Eve, publishers like Larry Flynt at Hustler, etc. You have leaders like John Stagliano of Evil Angel, who almost went to prison for defending his first amendment rights as an artist. Then you have female entrepreneurs like Allison Vivas of Pink Visual who has made her name in the mobile world as well as the production world (Ed. Allison has quite an interesting bio).”

“As a publicist, you find very passionate people in every industry and you cling to them, because you’re excited by their energy and what they’ve accomplished.”

Many of these power brokers, however, have watched in horror over the past few years as the Internet dramatically changed their business model. What began as a huge new revenue stream quickly turned into a nightmare due to an explosion of torrenting and streaming sites. As Brian says, many producers have “had to figure out how to monetize in different ways”, just like the music industry did in the days of Napster.

Copyright infringement is a tough challenge to fight, but Brian notes that “Plenty of people are still doing quite well. The strength of brand and content and marketing prowess is what will make the difference between successful and struggling companies.”

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PR Diva Death Match: Mariah Carey vs. Nicki Minaj

Today in TV Karaoke Competition News: The hottest gossip in the world of tee-vee at the moment appears to involve a battle of egos between new American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj (with a little BabaWa thrown in for good measure).

Excited yet? The “exclusive” TMZ video of the two arguing during Idol auditions resembles the beginning of history’s most tedious catfight. We can’t really understand any of it, but we get the general impression that Nicki is a little intimidated by Mariah’s seniority and that Ms. Carey is playing this year’s J.Lo by steadfastly refusing to be upstaged by anyone.

One thing is clear: Barbara Walters raised the stakes on Thursday’s episode of The View by repeating Mariah’s claim that Nicki threatened to “shoot the — b*tch” while walking offstage. Minaj then got a bit defensive (and slightly insane) on Twitter, mocking Carey for hiring more bodyguards while the show’s publicists loudly claimed that no one had made anything resembling a death threat.

Is this what passes for excitement in Seacrest-world? We’re already bored, but we guess we need to ask what the show’s producers and third-party stars think about all this deadly-serious drama.

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