Just as April showers are known to bring May flowers – discussing sensitive topics such as politics and gun control is known to spark heavy criticism and intense debates. This month was filled with PR blunders that had the potential of destroying brand reputations (Starbucks) and ruining careers (Commissioner Turner). In times like these, having a crisis communications plan in place is key. Let’s see where these companies and public figures went wrong:
Bad Dad Joke
What was intended to be a snarky dad joke was taken too far when ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely posted a photo of his daughter, her prom date, and…a gun. The photo instantly went viral and sparked outrage on social media. Though Feely promises that his daughter and her boyfriend knew that he was joking and that the gun was not loaded, the photo put Feely in the proverbial PR hot seat. Will this stunt affect Feely’s current gig as a CBS sports commentator? We will have to wait and see.
Don’t Talk Politics at the Family Party
We all know talking politics can be a touchy subject – so we’ll tread lightly here. Since April 13, we have seen Kayne West back in action on Twitter and some don’t seem to agree with his new political views (maybe). The famous hip hop artist and fashion designer has been sharing his thoughts on life and his respect of our President. Some say they have monitored his follower count and noticed a loss of 9 million followers – fellow artist Drake being one. Could there be truth behind this? The Verge reported that this is false. In talking with Twitter, the publication states “any fluctuation that people might be seeing is an inconsistency and should be resolved soon.” We’re sure the Twitter-verse will continue to monitor and share their theories as time goes on. We’ll be watching, too.
Will Racial Bias Training Make a Difference?
Earlier this month, Starbucks was under fire for the way it handled a recent event in which two African American men ended up getting arrested at a Philadelphia location. The incident has since sparked a conversation around the world on the subject of racial relations. After issuing a formal apology, Starbucks has decided to go one step further. On April 17, Starbucks announced they will close all U.S. stores for a “racial bias education” training, which will apply to nearly 175,000 employees set for May 29. How do you think Starbucks handled the issue?
Commissioner Behaving Badly
Did you see former Port Authority commissioner Caren Z. Turner’s roadside tirade caught on a dashcam that surfaced earlier this month? Apparently, her daughter (a backseat passenger in the car) and several friends were pulled over in her home town of Tenafly, NJ and given a citation. The car was also ordered to be impounded.
The 8-minute video captures Turner repeatedly berating police officers and demanding they tell her what the charges were after the officer already presented the driver with the citation and details. The officers remained calm and professional while Turner unraveled – flashing her commissioner’s badge, name dropping, and flexing her political connections.
Of course, social media went on tilt after the video surfaced. On Thursday, her former peers on the board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officially censured Turner, calling her conduct “outrageous” and “profoundly disturbing.” She has since resigned.
Having been in charge of police, you would think the former commissioner would be cognizant of those omnipresent dashcams. Clearly not a good look.
The only other commissioner that seems to have an even worse PR problem than Turner is Roger Goodell. Last night during the opening ceremony of the NFL 2018 Draft, Goodell was welcomed with a deluge of boos.