The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

brewer veto 300x168 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR PERFECT) to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer for saving her state from national condemnation by vetoing a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service to gay customers on religious grounds. True, the fiery Republican governor had little choice: Boycotts were threatened, companies said they would leave, and the National Football League reportedly considered moving next year’s Superbowl if the bill became law. But Arizona is socially conservative, and Brewer’s decision is not popular in many camps. In the end, she met with both sides before brandishing the veto stamp and issuing a no-nonsense statement: “Religious liberty is a core American and Arizona value [but] so is no discrimination.”

pdeen The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (FULL FIASCO) to Paula Deen, for comparing her effort to rebuild her battered reputation to NFL hopeful Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay. Deen was fired from the Food Network last year for racial slurs revealed amid a lawsuit filed by a former employee. (The suit was dismissed.) In an interview, Deen said she fears that words like “embattled” or “disgraced” will always follow her. “It’s like that black football player who recently came out,” Deen told People. “He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player’.” Pity her much? With a recent private equity infusion of  $100 million, her path to redemption will hardly be a slog.

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE PRV “THERE’S NO ‘THERE’ THERE” AWARD to Alec Baldwin, for his article “I Give Up” in the latest issue of New York Magazine. Baldwin’s glib wrath is fired upon the paparazzi who hound him, Broadway co-star Shia LaBeouf, his producers at MSNBC, right-wing media, America, the world – release the Kraken! It’s not all negative; Baldwin makes sure to mention his charitable donations and the sensitivity training he’s undertaken. At the end, Baldwin says, “I’m done with it,” and then admits, “This is how I feel in February of 2014.” You can practically see this consummate performer smirking.

Baldwin Is Bad News for MSNBC

alec baldwin 150x150 Baldwin Is Bad News for MSNBC

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for MSNBC and Alec Baldwin.

MSNBC’s new program Up Late, hosted by Alec Baldwin, is off to an inauspicious start. Barely a month into its run, the show has been suspended for two weeks after the volatile actor let loose a tirade last week that included calling a paparazzo a “c*cks*cking fag.” Baldwin’s defense?  He claims he said “fathead” and didn’t know the c-word was an insult….

Baldwin’s now notorious uncontrollable rage and slurs are wholly at odds with a brand that MSNBC has spent a lot of time (and money) cultivating. The network’s multi-year “Lean Forward” ad campaign, begun in 2010, describes its philosophy as “progressive,” dedicated to covering news and ideas that move the country forward. More broadly, Baldwin’s latest spectacle comes during national conversations on bullying and discrimination, and at a time when the gay rights movement is making tremendous strides in the US – all issues that the network covers on a daily basis.

This isn’t the first time Baldwin has embarrassed himself in front of TV cameras, and it almost certainly won’t be the last. That MSNBC would hire and then keep on someone whose behavior repeatedly flies in the face of the company’s stated values is more than a mystery. It’s bad news.

PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for MSNBC.

PR TAKEAWAY: Cut your losses. Brand attributes are meaningless if the company’s public representatives don’t embody them. In today’s fickle and fast-paced world reputations can be destroyed in a matter of days. Waiting to see if problems fix themselves is playing with fire. For MSNBC, better to part ways early before this burning issue gets any hotter.