Nick Ringrow – Account Manager at Spreckley
Most of us by now will be familiar with the case of an unnamed celebrity who supposedly had a threesome and now is battling the English & Welsh courts to ensure the injunction on naming this mystery individual is not lifted. Despite the answer already being available in the US, China, Italy, Spain and Scotland, we here in England/Wales are still in the dark. Just as recent as last week, it was revealed that another nameless celebrity had filed an injunction to have their salacious activities hidden from the public. Sure, all of us would go to lengths to protect our reputation but now the issue has become so much bigger – but why are we so obsessed with finding out the answer? Who really cares that much to demand the lifting of a court mandated gagging order? Is it really that big a deal?
No. No, it’s not that big of a deal. But the fuss made about it has caused a big deal. The law of unintended consequences has deemed this one to be a big issue simply because of the steps taken by said mystery celebrity to prevent their name coming out. This is also affectionately known as the ‘Streisand effect’ after the great lady herself. When she filed a lawsuit to have a picture of her home removed from the Internet, 420,000 people rushed to download the image. Before this news became news, it had been downloaded a grand total of six times, twice by Streisand’s lawyers. Sometimes going to great lengths to cover up something small can make it into a much bigger problem; the proverbial storm in the teacup.
When a crisis hits, be it the risk of your threesome becoming public knowledge, your client fudging their data or your oil rig going up in smoke, make sure you get out in front of it first. Ask any crisis communications expert, and they will tell you the same thing. Once the story goes public, the best thing you can do is acknowledge that there is an issue and steps are being made to rectify it. If you hide behind the legal system, or your company then things will go from bad to worse very quickly. In an age of instantaneous news updates thanks to social media, good news and bad spreads very quickly. When the news is bad, you can help to mitigate at least some of the fall out by showing your preparedness and action plan to combat the issue. By sweeping it under the rug and hoping it will will all go away, you run the risk of causing a much bigger issue to arise. Had our nameless celebrity acknowledged their mistakes, it would have been forgotten about long ago. But the story is destined to be dragged up once again when – and if – the injunction is lifted and we do finally find out whom the culprit is.