A study in hyPocRisy

      36 Comments on A study in hyPocRisy

Senate candidate Roy Moore

“He has a public relations problem now!”

I’ve heard that phrase applied to many powerful men in recent weeks including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK, Al Franken, Roy Moore, and others. Some have referred to sexual abuse allegations against them as crimes–and PR crises.

Yes, these individuals’ public images have been damaged as a result of the allegations. But much like Anthony Weiner and Bill Cosby, the men currently in the news were accused of sexual abuse and have far more than PR problems; some may face lawsuits and even criminal prosecution.

A lot of the public outrage directed at the accused has become a study in hypocrisy and double-standards. When news of sexual misconduct by actors and producers began to emerge, right wing media and politicians screamed about Hollywood’s immoral elite. Then, when allegations of stalking and abusing under-aged girls were leveled against GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, the left screamed while many on the right reserved judgement or fell silent. Most hypocritical were Evangelical Christians who defended Moore’s potential crimes on religious grounds, adding cries of “fake news.” Then there’s the Hypocrite-in-Chief Donald Trump. He tweeted nothing about Roy Moore but was hyper-critical of Senator Al Franken (D-MN) whose indecent act was hardly the immoral equivalent. And at least Franken apologized sincerely. Plus–don’t forget–16 women have accused Trump of sexual assault. Pure hypocrisy.

In her new book What Happened, Hillary Clinton wrote, “Sometimes I wish every man across America understood is how much fear accompanies women throughout their lives… Many women I know have been groped, grabbed or worse…Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has written frankly about how Congressmen have leered at her and grabbed her by the waist in the congressional gym.” Gillibrand (D-NY) has co-authored a bill requiring sexual harassment awareness training and reform for members of Congress and their staffs.

Poor judgement, salacious lechery and immoral actions indeed create public relations problems. But PR is the least of the issues here. There will likely be more accusations, and such men should be examining their past and preparing to appropriately apologize–and face the consequences.

Your thoughts?

36 thoughts on “A study in hyPocRisy

  1. Aisha Buchanan

    There are a lot of double standards in this society and the media plays on it as PR crises breaks into the mainstream news. As PR practitioners , we should be aware of those existing double standards so we can decide the next steps to take. Having a PR crisis plan intact can help with this as well. It is unfortunate that we live in a double standard society but PR practioners should be prepared to handle it.

  2. Yvette Wiafe

    The issue of sexual harassment goes beyond public relations. Yes, some may argue that the the responses from Roy Moore’s camp and that of Al Franken may make Franken pardoned. The bottom line is, harassing adults and kids are two totally different things. Having the issue of sexual misconduct play out now in the news shows how some men like to exert their power on women. If it is some form of illness like some schools of thought argue, then help should be meted out to them. If that isn’t the case then the law should deal with them.

  3. Maya

    The conversation about sexual assault/harassment is changing quickly and to me, that’s a good thing. Though I feel like it’s very overdue, the issue has been blown open over the past few months and now society is finally holding the perpetrators accountable. Even elites from Hollywood and Washington have fallen as a result of these serious allegations…but the only one so far who is relatively unscathed is POTUS. Even back when those Access Hollywood videos surfaced, Billy Bush was fired from NBC, yet what consequences did Donald Trump face? He was elected president.

  4. olivia abbatiello

    I totally believe that these accusations by women (some of whom have held their confessions in tight for 5, 10, 20, 40 years) being reduced to a “PR problem” not only depletes the seriousness of the matter and the magnitude of the reckoning that is currently happening in pop culture and the government, it also undermines the struggle of the victims involved.

    A “PR problem implies” the person of interest is being inconvenienced by an accusation that they aim to prove false, completely ignoring the other party – in some cases, parties – who also happens to be the victim. The reputations of the accusers are not what is most at stake here; the justice of the victims who have been assaulted by these men is. We should protect it so much more than any other “PR problem.”

  5. Daniella Opabajo

    With all of these accusations, I agree that PR is the least of these men problems. It seems like every other day there is a new scandal relating to an older man in power accused of sexual misconduct with multiple females. At this point, it does not surprise me anymore. It seems like the same formula: someone gets accused, the accused puts out a statement and before it can go to trial, the public forgets about it because they move onto is another scandal that happened. There is so much going on in the world that I think its hard for us to stay focus on each case for too long. Therefore, too often we forget about the victims in these situations. This is why this problem is way beyond just PR. These victims of sexual assault will have to live with what happened to them forever and no amount of public relations can fix that.

    1. Anonymous

      Almost every time I log onto my twitter or news apps I see a new allegation. Even my Pastor made a joke about not hugging anyone too tightly as to not get “caught up”. People’s true images are surfacing. Even American sweethearts Gabby Douglas has made controversial victim blaming comments. This goes beyond salvaging PR images. Donald Trump reared his controversial head with his defense of Roy Moore while hammering in on Sen Al Franken. Some have openly apologized for the allegations and others have defended their innocence. In light of all these allegations companies should formulate intiatives empowering victims of sexual assault.

    2. Summer

      Almost every time I log into my social
      media accounts I see a new allegation of sexual misconduct. My pastor even made a joke about not hugging anyone too tightly as to not get “caught up”. Donald Trump’s remarks hasn’t helped alleviate the tensions. He openly supports Roy Moore ( R) while denouncing Sen. Al Franken (D) These allegations go beyond PR. A statement or press release won’t erase the misconduct against countless women. Even more disappointing, American sweetheart Gabby Douglas went on twitter victim blaming women who experienced sexual assault. Now would be the time for companies to coordinate initiatives that aid women who were victims of sexual assault.

  6. Jessica Sodowich

    This post leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I was unaware of Senator Gillibrand and her own disgusting experiences, and the politicization of these issues is a problem in itself. In short, I agree that these allegations and accusations are more than just a public relations problem. Labeling it as such almost oversimplifies and undercuts the gravity of these issues. This is becoming an epidemic, both fortunately and unfortunately. Fortunately, victims and survivors are inspiring one another to speak up today, but unfortunately, we begin to see the size and scope of this clear systemic outbreak. This becomes more than a single person and their wrongdoings, this is a societal disease, a clear problem that cannot be solved with just public relations.

  7. Matthew Leong

    More often than not, people will provide the answer that is more socially accepted rather than what they really feel. A lot of sexual assault allegations are often put under wraps because people do not want to talk about it. In reality there are so many cases that do not come to the surface, but the ones that do become a huge deal.

  8. Chris Bounds

    The hypocrisy that has been happening recently is just outright sickening. Men do not understand the vastly different worlds that men and women live in. Women sometimes do not even feel safe in the workplace because of lechers like some of these celebrities and politicians. Accusations are accusations and until someone is deemed guilty in the court of law people cannot be to quick to condemn individual. I am not saying that the accusations are of false decent. I believe that the truth will be revealed to this individuals and the women who have accused them in the following months to come. What does bother me though is other individuals that condemn other individuals or groups as if they are evil, but have either the same accusation against them and their groups. This is just outright frustrating to watch.

  9. Megan Pohlman

    After all these accusations, I am afraid to see if this becomes normal. Usually, sexual misconduct cases are a big part of the news, but if this keeps occurring, it may just become an everyday thing. Additionally, I completely agree that this isomer than just a PR problem. As Hilary Clinton said, it would be nice if men understood how much fear accompanies women throughout their lives. Sexual assault has always been an issue in the world and it seems to only be growing. I hope men (and women) realize there could be major consequences and stop committing these crimes soon.

  10. Greg Liodice

    There certainly is a major hypocrisy problem in society today. People will scream for one thing but remain silent when something that affects their narrative. There certainly needs to be something done by a lot of people in charge to change the narrative that bad is bad, no matter the affiliation or allegiance.

    I don’t think it’s fair for Hillary Clinton to talk about how women fear for themselves when her husband has been accused of the exact things she discussed and lying under oath as well. Whether she knew about these moments or not, it doesn’t matter, there needs to be accountability and transparency.

  11. Paula Chirinos

    Personally, I was surprised to see Kevin Spacey’s name on the list. Netflix cancelling the show, House of Cards, which Spacey stars in was a good move by the management of the company. As for the accused, I cannot think of many effective strategies that could save these men’s reputations in a PR perspective. As many of my classmates stated, this is a bigger issue than a PR issue.

    Kevin Spacey has recently come under fire for a statement he made intending to apologize for his actions which had taken place years ago. He recognized his wrong doing but also decided to open up about being gay. Many of the comments under his post criticized Spacey for adding his ‘coming out’ as a means to deviate the discussion from him sexually harassing a then 14 year old boy. This was clearly a terrible move for Spacey. Where was his PR person when he was writing this??

  12. Paula Chirinos

    Personally, I was surprised to see Kevin Spacey on this list of names. Netflix cancelling the show, House of Cards, which Spacey stars in was a good move by the PR management of the company. As for Spacey and the rest of the men who are facing harsh criticism for their actions, I cannot think of many effective strategies that would save their reputations in a PR perspective. Spacey commented on the allegations apologizing for his sexual misconduct around a then 14 year old boy but also used his statement to open up about him being gay. When I read the comments under this post, many people were opposed to how he handled this apology and interpreted him opening up about his sexuality as a means to deviate the discussion from him sexually harassing a boy. This obviously wasn’t a good move for Spacey. Where was his PR person when he wrote this down??

  13. Matt Howard

    Anyone who says these men accused of sexual assaults have a PR problem is missing the point entirely. While it’s not untrue that these men do have PR problems now, there is much more at stake than that. Behind the headlines of men like the ones mentioned above, there are victims who have to live with the repercussions of actions that they have no responsibility for. Although we see the assailants names in the headlines, the real stories that need to be told are those of victims. Imagine telling a victim to their face that the only problem Roy Moore has is a PR problem. The stories and allegations that have recently come to light reach far beyond the scope of PR. These crimes highlight a created culture that allows powerful men to take advantage of others: until now, they were able to do so without consequence. PR is important, but when it comes to victims and their stories, PR is only a drop in the bucket. The real issue is the culture that has allowed this to happen in the first place.

  14. Nichole Bingham

    As a female I feel that women aren’t getting the respect and justice they deserve when it comes to sexual abuse. There were days where I would have to take the train to school because I wasn’t driving yet. I would have to be careful of the outfits I picked out before leaving the house because I didn’t know what kind of attention I was going to draw in from the opposite sex. I should be able to feel comfortable and confident in how I dress, not scared of what looks I may get from other men. I don’t think it’s ok that women are classified as easy targets. It’s ridiculous! I shouldn’t have to be afraid to express myself every time I step outside of my house hoping that no one tries anything on me.

  15. Ian Budding

    Now that more and more accusations are coming to the top pages of media outlets, the number will only continue to grow substantially. Women and other victims will no longer feel like they have to remain silent under the fear of scrutiny. However, the way government accusations have been treated by political parties, most specifically, the right, has triggered many to point the finger and call them hypocrites. If this continues, then it will continue to give more reasons why far-right Republicans are becoming an enemy of sorts to the rest of the country. It’s much bigger than a PR problem, and representatives can only do so much to fix their clients’ image.

  16. Justin Ayala

    I agree that there are more accusations to come and that such men should be ready to face their past because what is done in the dark will come to light. It saddens and disgusts me to live in society where men with certain titles are not being held accountable for their inappropriate and inexcusable advances towards women. This goes to show how women are not treated equally in the patriarchal society we still live in today. These things have been going on for years and are just now coming to the surface because these victims are finding their voice. It is reliving to see some action taken against these men but there is still work to be done. Putting hypocrisy in check is the first thing!

  17. Shayla Sales

    The allegations that are facing these men in the public sphere go beyond damage/image control, and raise more serious and obvious concerns. Within the past two months more than five men have been accused of sexual misconduct, that we know of. Besides their public image being damaged, the bigger concern is men abusing their title to have unwanted sexual advances on women and think they can get away with it. It’s sickening to think of all the people affected by these heinous crimes to finally come out years later about their experience. The criminal charges and lawsuits should be just the beginning for these men in the public eye. Being rich and famous doesn’t equate to being above the law or even justify for sexually abusing men/women.

  18. Raffaella Tonani

    No PR can erase a crisis of any kind, but accidents with an environmental effect like the Exonn Valdez oil spill can make it better by providing all the help needed for the ecosystem affected. I have yet to learn a lot about PR, but when it comes to sexual violence no matter what crisis campaign the PR person creates, if the accusations are true, I cannot respect their person, or the PR person for that matter. They could start by publicly apologizing to all the women they abused and recognizing abuse of power and all their actions, including settlement payments (if any) to women they sexually harassed and/or abused off. If they were to hand themselves in, and agree to be judged and possibly jail time, and donate funds to police departments to investigate cases of sexual misconduct and/or anti-sexual violence organizations like RAINN, they will not change what they have done but people can say the person abused someone and then did this.

    Went it comes to hypocrisy, it is ironic how different sides of the political spectrum turn sexual abuse issues into political issues. If in the midst of accusations, someone donated funds to organizations fighting against sexual violence, that person would gain my respect over someone who makes a campaign insulting another person but does not prove with actions or leads by example how people can fight what that person did wrong. Public figures like politicians have a voice, they are powerful and influential. Not using their power to fight against what they call out other people in their status for, is hypocrisy. In both cases PR might help but this is a societal problem bigger than PR crisis management.

  19. Jessica Gilmour

    To say these men have a, “PR problem,” it is over simplifying an entirely destructive situation. There is clearly a problem within industries that lets sexual misconduct slip through the cracks. Also, as nice as it is to see people finally respond to sexual misconduct in the workplace so passionately, where was this passion when Trump was accused of sexual assault with 16 women?

  20. Cyril Penn

    Suggesting that these men “have a PR problem on their hands” may just be a more professional way of saying they “did a no-no.” Whether in politics, the entertainment industry, or any normal place of business, sexual harassment of any kind is inappropriate and unacceptable. There are major problems with our society and the more stories that come out of this ilk, the more women can feel empowered to share their stories of hardship. Any PR campaign regarding sexual harassment is basically just doing damage control on the situation.

  21. Delaney Barac

    Men who have been accused of sexual harassment and assault have a lot more to worry about than PR. Every day that I log into Twitter I seem to see another man in Hollywood being accused of rape. A wave of strong women are coming forward sharing their stories and bring awareness to this issue in the world today. These awful men clearly did not think about the women they would be harming, or the careers they would be ruining for themselves when they forced themselves on others.

  22. Amina Antoury

    Everything happening in the new makes me terribly sad for all the women involved along with the women that are still out there who are too afraid to say anything. I believe that the cases of these high profile men (whether it be in politics like Bill Clinton or in the entertainment industry like Harvey Weinstein) is way more than a PR issue. PR professionals can only do so much for people who are immoral.

  23. claudiabarnard

    These immoral actions that are being highlighted in the media right now are the least of PRs problems. These actions are inexcusable and even if these people apologize their reputations are ruined. What’s most annoying about this is that sexual assault is sexual assault. No matter the gender, race, political views, etc. of the victims, they should all be treated the same. It is very hypocritical that people stay quiet about some cases but for other cases voice their opinion. If we treated sexual assault victims and accusations the same way, we could focus more on prosecuting these offenders and helping the victims rather than being hypocritical and choosing which assaults are most “important”.

  24. Kristina Barry

    I agree these these problems in Hollywood span much larger than public relations. People are getting sexually abused and it is difficult to keep track of who is accusing who. It’s nice knowing that women are coming together and supporting one another when speaking out on these issues and coming forward with their stories. These men should have thought about their public relation image before they decided to take advantage of these women.

  25. Jeffrey Werner

    I agree that PR is the least of these men’s worries. Their public image has been damaged and they still have lawsuits and possibly criminal charges yet to come. It’s a shame to see these stars and politicians who built up careers tear it all down because they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. The worst part is there’s no easy fix to the problemAs for the hypocrisy, it’s a hypocrisy to call this issue a political issue. Both parties will lash out at each other if someone associated with the party is accused but when someone in their own party is accused, they fall silent or defend that person. This is a social issue that will take a bi-partisan effort to address and find a resolution, but some time will pass before that can happen as republicans and democrats continue to point the finger at each other.

  26. Kaitlyn Cusumano

    Unfortunately, it is hard to keep track of all of the horrendous things happening in the world recently. In all of these cases there are much greater issues to address, of course, than just a PR problem. It is refreshing and appreciated that finally after many years of these woman having to deal with this problem that seems to have been going on for all of history to be able to feel comfortable enough to speak out. From a PR standpoint, whoever is in charge of PR for these men have themselves a handful to say the least.

  27. Rosaria Rielly

    Lately there have been so many allegations in the news that is hard to keep track of everyone and all the woman who are reporting their sexual abuse, which in itself is a much larger issue than a PR crisis. Earlier this fall the #metoo campaign was a way for those who have been affected by sexual abuse to learn that they are not alone and that they have support. It is disgusting to think of how many woman have been assaulted and how many woman have kept these secrets for so long in fear of how they will be treated and who will believe them afterwards. There should definitely be changes made in order to give women the right respect and to educate the public so that sexual harassment is not the norm and os not a common thing woman, especially in the workplace, have to live in fear of.

  28. Brianna Flynn

    The point about public image being a main thing that people are talking about during sexual abuse allegations being made in Hollywood is actually important. It’s reflective of the society we live in, where the first question that pops into our heads is “what is gonna happen to his image now?” instead of “what’s gonna happen to his life now?” While image is always at the forefront of a PR professional’s mind, it is important to take a step back when dealing with legal situations and consider the law instead of worrying about how to put a pretty bow on top of the story. Sometimes there is no way to turn it around. However, I wonder if any of these “powerful men” are going to use female public relations professionals to get sympathy from the public.

  29. Jeffrey Werner

    PR is certainly the least of their worries for those that have been accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault. At this point, I’m not sure any PR would help these men in their situations, regardless whether they deny or apologize. The situation only gets worse for those who falsely deny such allegations. Either way, the men will face public image damages, lawsuits, and possibly criminal charges. As for the hypocrisy, it’s a hypocrisy to call this issue a political one. It’s a social one that both political parties will accuse the other of but fall silent when one of their own faces such accusations. This issue will require a bi-partisan effort in order to address and resolve, which could take years and years considering neither party is willing to work with the other.

  30. John Grillea

    It’s very scary to think about this kind of abuse in general, but especially with people in powerful positions committing these crimes. Those effected should not remain silent or scared. This goes much deeper than a PR issue and those involved should face the consequences if found guilty. That quote from Hillary Clinton is great and she is certainly correct. Ironic though because her own husband has also been accused of sexual assault throughout his career too, which wasn’t mentioned. As PR professionals we need to be vocal with issues like this.

  31. Unice Kim

    I agree that these allegations in Hollywood are the least of a PR problem. It is very unfortunate that this is happening in this industry. No one deserves to be mistreated like that. Some people are worried that this is bad for their PR but that is the least of their problems. These people are facing lawsuits and even prison time. Yes, their PR is being tarnished, but they had what was coming.

  32. Abby

    This is a very hard topic to discuss, I’m sure many people have a fear of abuse, especially a student like myself who will be in a working environment shortly. I’m sure others have even already dealt with abuse. I personally can’t believe that in this day and age this is still happening and people are still getting away with it. I feel like as though it has almost become and epidemic among workers. I feel now there are more people then ever before speaking out against these actions, and that is a good thing. I think this will help bring serious changes to the way this is looked at, these kind of situations can not become the norm. We need to continue to spread the message loud and clear that these kind of abuses have no place in the workplace or anyplace and people who commit these actions will deal with the consequences. We as students going into the workplace soon should not be living in fear.

  33. Haley Nemeth

    I agree that this is much bigger than just a PR problem. PR professionals can only do so much for their clients when they are facing potential criminal charges. It is definitely hypocritical of people to call out one personal that was accused of sexual assault and not even acknowledge the wrongs of another. Sexual assault should be spoken out against on all sides of politics and in all industries, even when those accused are your friends. It is so brave for people to be speaking up about their experiences with this issue, but now we as a society need to make sure that we don’t give the convicted a free pass.

  34. Ana G Canahuate Torres

    I believe it is more than a PR problem because these are immoral actions made in the past towards women. The worst part of all of these allegations arising is that the women who had gone through that treatment have had the courage to share their stories. Women should never be treated in such an unjust, immoral, or even in an inappropriate way because clearly this has been a problem in the passed, where power becomes some of kind of weapon to exploit these women that have to work along side men that have a higher status in society. I feel that the issue here should be addressed with a PR campaign defending the women who are sharing their stories and also to educate the public that when a personal violation towards anyone is made there should be consequences. The saddest part is that there are more sexual harrasment or just cases of misconduct towards women in society on a consistent rise and I believe there should be a stop to this heinous treatment by these so called powerful men.


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