Has Hollywood Lost Its Sheen?

Low-hanging fruit is an easy target and a crisis manager’s nightmare.

Welcome to the world of Charlie Sheen.

Rarely do we see such a public detonation of a Hollywood star as we’ve witnessed in recent weeks with the implosion of America’s bad boy of sitcom. There are the alleged drugs, sex and, well, a lot of drugs and sex, maybe.

Where is Charlie’s “handler”? Where is his public relations guru perched upon his shoulder, his message manager? Clearly, there isn’t one. Well, maybe it’s his long-time sidekick manager who is as “zany” as Charlie himself.

Oh yes, there was a publicist, but he quit and then Charlie fired him. That fits perfectly.

But, for all intents and purposes, Charlie Sheen appears to be handling his own crisis now. The word “handling” sort of sticks in my throat, however. When stars, political types and company CEO’s egos become bigger than boulders, they feel invincible and will “set the world straight.” No need for a personal crisis manager.

Someone caught in the crosshairs of controversy is probably the least likely person to think straight, act rationally and handle their own external communication.

Hence, if you are embroiled in deep doo-doo, you ought to hire a communication consultant. Yes, this is self-serving. Those of us who make a living in crisis communication know that clients don’t like to write checks to someone who plays devil’s advocate or dishes out the straight skinny on the issues at hand.

After all, the client usually knows better. Yeah, right.

But, those of us in crisis communication do as umpires do: “Call them as you see them.” We are the ones who separate fact from fiction, talk about perception equaling reality and develop sound responses to those oft-asked embarrassing questions.

Sure, it costs some money to hire a communication consultant, but it might avoid re-titling your former show “One and a Half Men.”

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