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How Would You Handle It?

Posted At: January 1, 2008 9:39 AM
by Destin Rice

Let’s face it … we are in the real world with real people who make really bad decisions. Read the cases below concerning celebrities in the news and put yourself in the shoes of their publicists and practitioners. Would you do things differently?

Britney Spears: Divorce, Custody and Personal Struggles

Britney Spears, a famous American pop music singer, songwriter, dancer, actress and author, has recently gained much attention from the media. Spears’ personal life, in particular—her marriage to former back-up dancer Kevin Federline and the birth of their two sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James-—has been in the media’s spotlight for a while now. The couple’s divorce in November 2006 was highly publicized and has been followed by a legal battle for custody of their children. Spears lost full custody in a decision by the courts in October 2007.

Some things to think about:

• Britney Spears, once a role model, is now viewed as an unfit parent who has been accused of substance abuse and extreme partying. As a practitioner, how would you handle Spears’ negative image? What advice would you give her?

• As a practitioner, how would you explain Spears’ performance at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards to the public?

Michael Vick: Dog Fighting Case,2933,290061,00.html

Michael Vick, a National League quarterback currently under contract with the Atlanta Falcons, was suspended by the NFL due to his illegal dog fighting and gambling activities. Vick’s NFL suspension in August 2007 was imposed in response to his guilty plea to federal felony charges resulting from the discovery of an unlawful interstate dog fighting ring in Vick’s hometown in Virginia. His indictment and guilty plea have caused many companies to cancel or suspend their endorsement contracts with Vick. Vick’s actions have also caused controversy over the relevance of animal cruelty laws to society and their purposes in relation to potential violent criminals.

Some things to think about:

• As a practitioner what advice would you give to Vick in order to help rid his negative image as an animal abuser?

• What would you say to animal rights activists concerning Vick and the dog fighting incident?

• How would you convince marketers to create or continue endorsement contracts with Vick?

• What would you suggest that Vick say to the coaches and founders of the Atlanta Falcons? How should he approach his fans and what should he say to them?

• Do you think the media influenced the Michael Vick case? How would you justify this answer?

O. J.  Simpson: Murder Case of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman

The O. J. Simpson murder case was a highly publicized U.S. criminal trial in 1994. Former American football star and actor, O. J. Simpson, was charged for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Brown and Goldman were found stabbed to death outside Brown’s condominium in Los Angeles. Evidence found and collected at the scene led police to suspect Simpson as the murderer. After a lengthy trial, Simpson was acquitted. Simpson was later found liable for the wrongful death of Goldman in a civil trial.

Some things to think about:

• Many believe O. J. Simpson is to blame for the stabbing of Brown and Goldman. As a practitioner, what advice would you give Simpson to help his negative image that still persists today?

O. J. Simpson: Armed Robbery of Las Vegas Hotel,2933,296948,00.html

Now, thirteen years after the case of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, Simpson’s name can be found in the news again. This past September, Simpson was arrested on charges related to the armed robbery of sports memorabilia. The robbery took place in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Some things to think about:

• With Simpson’s name in the news once again for legal trouble, his negative image seems to be long term. As a practitioner what would you suggest Simpson do in order to repair his reputation?

* “How Would You Handle It?” will be a recurring feature on the Platform site with up-to-date situations and cases that will give you the chance to voice your opinion. So watch for new topics to be posted early next year.

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