Inside PR 390: Throw Away Your Crisis Communications Playbook

You didn’t think we’d not do a show about Jian Ghomeshi, did you?

Though he was a CBC Canadian star, his crisis evolved beyond the borders and certainly hit the United States as we all watched in wonder to see what would come of it all.

If you are like me and have never heard of him, the story goes that he was abusive to some former girlfriends in the bedroom. His story is that it was all consensual. The side of the women is that it wasn’t so much, particularly when he punched one of them in the face.

There, of course, are always three sides to a story (his side, her side, and the truth), but what has been interesting to watch is how Ghomeshi has handled the crisis, from a communications perspective.

The moment he was fired from the CBC, he wrote a long explanation to his fans on his Facebook page. Then he filed a $55 million lawsuit against the media company. Because he was a union employee, he cannot file a lawsuit, but speculation is he did it so he could tell his side of the story in legal documents that couldn’t be held against him later.

Then things got really hairy. His high-profile crisis firm dropped him and he “fled” to California. The case is ongoing and it certainly hasn’t died down because he stopped being vocal.

We discuss how he and his team framed the issue, what they did extraordinarily well, but also what they forgot to include, based on the flamethrowers on social media. Joe brings up a good point about how this also relates to Gamergate and how, in social media, people begin to define the issue themselves.

We’d love to hear what you think about how crisis should be handled in 2014/2015 versus 1990.

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Thank you to the people behind Inside PR.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

Inside PR is produced by Ashlea McGrath.

Inside PR #167 – Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This week on Inside PR Terry Fallis and David Jones discuss how public relations changes during the summer season and welcome a listener comment.  Martin Waxman reports from Vancouver.

00:26 Terry opens the show.

02:25 Dave mentions the now famous Billy Bob Thornton interview with Jian Ghomeshi.

03:11 Terry welcomes a comment from Felipe Mangabeira of FirstCom Communications in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

04:30 Terry opens a discussion about how public/media relations changes during the summer season.

13:00 Terry introduces Martin, reporting from the CPRS conference in Vancouver.

15:11 After a brief run-down of some of the events at the conference, Martin introduces the interview segments with Julie Szabo and Darren Barefoot of Capulet Communications, Terry Flynn of McMaster University and Paul Mylrea of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management.

28:40 Terry closes the show.

Our theme music is Streetwalker by Cjacks and is courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network; Roger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Sarah Laister.