Tag Archives: scandal

A “Fine” PR Mess for Syracuse

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Another month, another college sports scandal allegedly involving a respected coach. This scenario is (unfortunately) too familiar now. An assistant coach from a prominent athletic department is accused of molesting young boys.

The latest scandal involves the Syracuse University men’s basketball team and it’s associate basketball coach, Bernie Fine. A longtime coach under hall of fame head coach Jim Boeheim, Fine is being accused by two former university ball boys. They say they were molested by Fine starting in the late 1970s and continuing into the 1990s. Continue reading

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Etsy – The Latest Brand to Disappoint

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Etsy, the online marketplace self-described as “Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies,” is the latest brand to suffer a full on image meltdown. And, like BP, Tiger Woods and Toyota before them, they’re also the latest brand to resolutely stick its head in the sand as a way of dealing with PR crisis and the resultant public outcry.

A friend alerted me late last week to the fact that Etsy was allowing a vendor to sell some very offensive greeting cards and shared Change.org’s petition requesting Etsy remove the cards–to date supported by almost 16,000 signatures. This friend has a daughter with Down Syndrome and was espe­­­­cially horrified by a card like the one in the image above.

Let me back up and say that I’ve been a huge Etsy fan and supporter for a long time now.  I love dealing with craftsman and artisans and have patronized Etsy vendors for years, buying things like hair bows, laptop sleeves, jewelry, reusable snack bags and mesh produce bags and a myriad of other handmade things.  And I’ve often preferred to go to Etsy for the things I’m looking for rather than eBay because the community they’ve created has always evoked a good feeling. A feeling of trust. I’ve felt that the people I’m buying from are people I might actually want to get to know and maybe even want to hang out with – and I certainly want to support them by buying their wares. For me, that kind of feeling is like shopping at the local specialty store versus at a big chain – and Etsy did it for me. Continue reading

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Pageant Scandals or Publicity Stunts

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Disclaimer (ugh, I hate disclaimers): …ok, background information:
I used to compete in pageants. I don’t think this is a terrible surprise since I’ve talked about it before (http://twitter.com/KOttavio/statuses/3512327971). Pageants are good…pageants (Miss America Organization) (http://www.missamerica.org/) give scholarship money…pageants helped me hone my interview and “stay cool under pressure” skills. Most importantly, I have made some lifelong friends in the pageant system.
That said—pageants are a business. Miss America is a scholarship program…so let’s leave them out of this discussion (don’t even bring up Vanessa Williams or I will…). Miss USA (http://www.missuniverse.com/missusa), on the other hand, is owned by Mr. Donald Trump (along with Miss Teen USA (http://www.missuniverse.com/missteenusa) and Miss Universe) (http://www.missuniverse.com/). And like any business, numbers need to be high and those dollars need to be raked in.
So I can’t be the only one who found it a little disheartening (ok, fishy) when the “pageant scandals” (http://television.aol.com/photos/beauty-pageant-scandals) became more and more prominent. Take the most recognized semi-recent mishap: Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006 “Oh no she didn’t.” The young woman was splattered all over the press for “alleged cocaine use, public kissing sessions with Miss Teen USA and random men were seen emerging from her swanky New York apartment.” And how was this young lady reprimanded? Trump held a press conference and let her keep her crown. I’m sure sparkling jewels look fab in rehab.
Not to draw this out, but there’s also Ashley Harder, Miss N.J. USA 2007 (she got pregnant), Katie Rees, Miss Nevada USA 2007 (naughty nightclub romp with photo evidence), Leona Gage, Miss USA 1957 (lied about her age), Oxana Federova, Miss Universe 2002 (I can’t fault this one…she hardly attended any appearances because they interfered with her studies. Still, it’s press!). Oh yeah and there was that Carrie Prejean girl…
Are these incidences just that? Young human beings, stressed out under the spotlight, making mistakes that we “regular people” just don’t get caught for while they do? Or calculated publicity stunts? I’d like to believe the former. (Tara actually did go to rehab.( http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20005269,00.html)) Perhaps it’s just the genius team at Trump’s office exploiting such happenings into publicity stunts for high viewership numbers, ultimately bringing huge dollar amounts to the organization.
Thoughts? I will donate one dollar for every male who comments (and offers legitimate opinions/insight) on this blog within 24 hours of posting to The Children’s Miracle Network, the official national platform (http://missamerica4kids.com/) of the Miss America Organization. Donation will be capped at $100 (we’re in PR people, not venture capital). [Editor’s Note: In honor of the PRBreakfastClub.com launch we will match this donation — $1 per legitimate male-authored comment to 12for12K (12for12k.org)]
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Katie Stam, Miss America 2009

Disclaimer (ugh, I hate disclaimers): …ok, background information:

I used to compete in pageants. I don’t think this is a terrible surprise since I’ve talked about it before. Pageants are good…pageants (Miss America Organization) give scholarship money…pageants helped me hone my interview and “stay cool under pressure” skills. Most importantly, I have made some lifelong friends in the pageant system.

Continue reading

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