Full Steam Ahead for DSK!

DSKcrosssue 300x187 Full Steam Ahead for DSK!

The PR Verdict: “C” for DSK and his team.

Full steam ahead for Dominique Strauss-Kahn who is now countersuing Nafissatou Diallo, the housekeeper at the Manhattan hotel who last year accused him of rape.   He says her statements about him damaged his political career and cost him his job as managing director of the International Monetary Fund and “other professional opportunities”.  How much is that worth? DSK says a cool $1 million plus punitive damages.

His lawyers said Diallo was “directly responsible for his being arrested, imprisoned and subjected to extraordinary pain, anguish and expense.”  Batting back, a lawyer for Diallo countered, “Strauss-Kahn’s lawsuit is yet another publicity stunt, smacks of desperation and will be easily defeated.”

All of this against a backdrop of DSK being charged on separate matters, including a French allegation of involvement in a prostitution ring and an accusation of assaulting of a woman at a hotel in Washington in 2010.  He has denied wrongdoing on both counts.

The PR Verdict: “C” for DSK and his team.  Given unrelated allegations have surfaced after Diallo’s, demanding punitive damages from a hotel housekeeper seems heavy handed.

PR Takeaway: Outrage and fury work best when not mitigated by complicating facts.  DSK’s decision to sue might be for all the right reasons but with a prostitution charge hanging over his head, demanding a million dollar settlement from a hotel housekeeper is unlikely to rescue his reputation.  To make the same point go ahead and file, but in deference to the financial situation of Diallo, unsympathetic public opinion and some very compromising ongoing legal issues, sue for a nominal sum only.

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What’s your PR Verdict?

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Getting Naked with John Travolta

johntravolta Getting Naked with John Travolta

The PR Verdict: “B” for Travolta who was quick with a robust and unequivocal denial.

What else is there to know about John Travolta and his genitals?  According to a thrillingly prurient and detailed lawsuit filed by an unnamed masseur at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the public now knows more than it ever expected.  After recovering from allegedly being groped by the iconic star, the distressed masseur is now suing Travolta for damages.

Seeking $2 million (what might have been claimed if they went all the way?) the masseur’s filing (his name has been withheld) gives a minute-by-minute retelling.  He claims Travolta’s erect penis is approximately 8 inches in length and his pubic hair is “wirey (sic) and unkempt.”  Travolta, on being rebuffed, yelled “Hollywood is controlled by homosexual Jewish men who expect favors in return for sexual activity.”   Undoubtedly an odd response… but bring on the headlines!  They’re guaranteed!

Team Travolta responded with indignation and anger. “Untrue!”  and “False!”   None of the events claimed ever occurred, said his rep.  Besides, Travolta wasn’t in LA at the time of the alleged incident.   The rep said they would fight it and once thrown out, cross sue the masseur for malicious prosecution.   But hold on!  Now a second masseur has come out and joined the Californian lawsuit, claiming Travolta made similar moves at a hotel room in Atlanta.

The PR Verdict: “B” for team Travolta who were quick off the mark with a robust and unequivocal denial. Credibility is going to be strained though if additional complainants join the lawsuit.

PR Takeaway:  As complicating facts emerge it becomes tougher to stick with flat out denials and indignation.   Why not feign indifference?  What a frivolous and cynical lawsuit!  We have handed it to our lawyers.  Point out that Travolta wasn’t even there on the night in question while conceding agreement on three points: the masseur is suing for $2 million in damages, he never approached the police and he filed his opportunistic complaint anonymously.  Next question?

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Who would you place money on? Team Travolta or the Masseur.

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