Without a doubt, this year’s Academy Awards gave the media lots to talk about. There’s the debate over Oscar presenter Seth McFarlane’s envelope-pushing monologues, and Jennifer Lawrence’s stumble. But of all the gossip-worthy notes, one point was made so often in the Twitterverse that it began a media storm: Apparently, people hate Anne Hathaway.
Not everyone, of course. After all, Hathaway won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for Les Miserables, and she has appeared on numerous magazine covers. But public opinion has been poisoned: the words “Hathaway,” “annoying” and “hate” garner multimillions of Google results. Even Anderson Cooper recently felt the need to defend Hathaway on his show.
The reasons are vague but came to a tipping point with Hathaway’s Academy Awards acceptance speech. The accusation? Rehearsed and not terribly genuine. Even before that, though, Tweeters were bashing her Awards dress for showing her nipples, a wardrobe malfunction that seemed less accidental after paparazzo photographed her going commando at the New York Les Mis premiere.
Who cares if a few (million) people hate her? Well, Hollywood, for one. Hathaway’s detractors are predominantly women. If Hathaway scores low on female popularity ratings, then certain roles won’t be made available. She needs some turnaround PR to make sure her place at the Vanity Fair Oscar party is secured.
THE PR VERDICT: “D” (PR Problematic) for Anne Hathaway. A legion of female haters may ultimately change her career in Hollywood.
THE PR TAKEAWAY: Want to be more liked? Find new friends and revisit old ones. When half the movie buying population doesn’t care for you, a PR rethink is needed. Hathaway’s problem is that she tests in market research as aloof and unapproachable. For the moment, cease photo shoots with Vogue and Bazaar, quietly put Valentino back on the rack, and instead publicly pal around with some old school buddies while booking slots on the chat shows hosted by other women: Ellen, Wendy Williams, Oprah, and Chelsea Handler. Being aloof and talented may be chic, but being in the company of other likeable women will turn this PR issue around. Just ask Hilary Clinton and Meryl Streep.