Image by Mattias Karlsson
Last Thursday’s breaking news, Justin Bieber was arrested for illegal street racing, driving under the influence and resisting arrest. Can’t say I’m too surprised. When I saw this story my first thought was, how will he communicate in the aftermath of this incident.
As of now, he hasn’t made a statement.
One of the most important things to do in the wake of any crisis is to make a timely statement. The fact that he has failed to do so is only hurting his image further. Well that and the fact that just two days after his arrest he took off on a vacation to Panama. Silence can be beneficial for allowing an issue to die in the public sphere. But that can only happen after an initial communication plan/statement has been executed by the party involved.
The way I see it, there are two paths to choose from in this situation.
- Take the reckless/careless Miley Cyrus approach
- Publicly apologize, ask for repentance, and check himself into a rehab program
If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the former.
When I was younger and Lindsay Lohan rebelled, she was outcast. Her public reputation was ruined for the better part of decade. She has begun to gain more acceptance recently, but too little too late. Now days it seems as though the new “cool” PR stunt for teen celebrities is to unapologetically rebel in the wake of crisis.
The public’s response to controversy is really something to appreciate. These unruly youth are stirring the pot, grabbing people’s attention and holding it hostage. It takes away the need for young celebrities to publicly disgrace themselves by apologizing, tail between their legs. It’s a new form of reputation management. Diverting blame, making the public forget about indiscretions by creating new controversy.
I can’t help but wonder what Bieber’s PR team or publicist is thinking. No doubt they are hashing out a plan, deliberating on how to handle the press fallout from these charges. What Bieber needs to do is to take a media offensive in an attempt to restore his image.
For that matter, did Miley’s publicity team suggest creating her “bad girl” image, or did she simply go against their more sensible advice? Contrary to Lohan, she was able to make this new image work for her. Her music is still popular. People still like her.
As he enjoys his tropical vacation elsewhere, the public’s anger towards Bieber has continued to boil back in the states. This has resulting in a petition to deport him back to Canada. “He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society,” reads the petition placed on the White House’s “We the People” site.
In addition to this he has been banned from various radio stations, businesses and other organizations across the world.
Food for thought…