She Said What? Celebs Are Uncensored Again

 She Said What? Celebs Are Uncensored Again

The PR Verdict: “D” (PR Problematic) for Lena Dunham (above) and Elisabeth Moss (below).

Blame – or credit – for the sterility of celebrity interviews and quotes goes to Pat Kingsley, the legendary publicist who allegedly controlled questions and answers for Tom Cruise at the height of his fame. Since then, only stars willing to take risks might speak off the cuff about failed romances or to make an unscripted quip. Lately, things are changing, and thanks – or blame – can be given to Girls star Lena Dunham and Mad Men actress Elisabeth Moss.

Dunham’s star has been on the rise since Girls, now in its third season, debuted on HBO. This past weekend, she hosted Saturday Night Live. The show featured a skit about Adam and Eve, during which the 27-year-old Dunham got naked; nothing new for her, as Girls features many a nude scene. When someone tweeted to Dunham, “You don’t always have to get naked!”, Dunham replied, “Please tell that to my uncle, mister. He’s been making me!” After a slew of criticism that molestation jokes aren’t funny, Dunham took the tweets down and apologized. 

 She Said What? Celebs Are Uncensored AgainMoss got naked in a different way, dishing to New York Magazine about her eight-month long marriage to Portlandia star and writer Fred Armisen. “It was extremely traumatic and awful and horrible,” Moss says. “I’m glad I didn’t have kids.” She takes tabloids to task for making up things about her while admitting she reads them and trashes celebrities who want fame and awards while asserting that her own level of fame means “If I do the movie, it will get made, and if I don’t do it, the movie won’t get made.”

THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for both Lena Dunham and Elisabeth Moss.

THE PR TAKEAWAY: Get people talking about you, not against you. It’s hard for celebrities to stand out in this under-interesting time of overexposure, but being crass isn’t the way to go. Be funny and self-effacing, but don’t make fun of taboo subjects, and don’t talk smack about other celebs. No matter what anyone says, there is such a thing as bad PR.

How Can McCain “Game Change” the Palin Legacy?

gamechange How Can McCain Game Change the Palin Legacy?

The PR Verdict: “D“ For McCain and his defense of his former running mate.

What’s the best way to defend Sarah Palin?  John McCain, former presidential candidate has been asked to defend his former running mate for the hundredth time, following the release of the HBO movie Game Change.

While the film is vaguely sympathetic to Palin, as she struggles with the immense personal stress of the campaign, the film’s recurring theme is that she was wildly unprepared on both personal and professional levels. Staffers are seen in the movie explaining to Palin endless basic facts re the workings of US government, including the meaning of the shorthand phrase “the Fed”.  McCain in a recent interview said he had not seen the movie and has no intentions of doing so while Palin describes the film as “historical fiction”.

McCain said in the interview that Palin is a “good and decent person” and “fine family person” and “someone who energized our campaign”.  With words like these, reinforcing a perception that she was the soccer mom running for high office, he will continue to be frustrated in putting his choice of running mate firmly  behind him.

The PR Verdict: “D“ For McCain and his defense of his Sarah Palin.  Stop talking about her personal qualities and start talking about a broader perspective now that the campaign is well and truly over.

The key learning from Game Change is that the McCain /Palin campaign was battling not only under the stress of the existing 24-hour news cycle but the advent of YouTube. This allowed everyone to see reruns of Palin messing up, eliminating the possibility of the “forgive and forget” failed interview. Until McCain publicly reflects more broadly on his campaign, he will be obliged to defend his running mate on the same homely qualities that provoked such derision.  In so doing, both Palin and McCain will face ongoing frustration in their efforts to put the past behind them.

To see the trailer for Game Change click here.  To see McCain defend Palin click here and to read more click here.

How would you rate McCains interview on Game Change? What’s your PRV?

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