What Would Bill Do? Media Coach Bill McGowan Takes on the Week’s News

phylicia rashad

Today brings 2015’s first version of our recurring guest column from Bill McGowan, Clarity Media Group founder and media coach to executives from Facebook, Airbnb and more.

This week’s edition involves — what else — famous people behaving badly.

Phylicia No Capisce

Even in the prime of his career as an NFL wide receiver, Ahmad Rashad never back-peddled as quickly as his ex-wife did this week to contain damage from a media interview in which she came to the defense of former co-star Bill Cosby amidst widespread rape allegations.

Showbiz 411 quoted Cosby’s former TV wife as saying, “Forget these women.  What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy.  And I think it’s orchestrated.”

There are no doubt smarter ways to protect the income you get from syndication/rerun fees. Realizing the firestorm her comments created, Phylicia Rashad pulled out the most threadbare crisis comms trick in the book: “I was misquoted.”  But then on World News Tonight with David Muir, when she tried to set the record straight, the result was not much better. “This is not about the women.  This is about something else.”

When are alleged crimes NOT about the victim? When are people going to learn that the only safe comment to make on criminal allegations is to say, “the only judgment that matters is in a court of law and I wouldn’t presume to be the judge or jury on anything where I don’t know all the facts.” Whatever you do, never, EVER diminish the role of the victim(s).


Ungrateful Alum

If you’re a celeb trying to nurture a good public image, it’s probably not wise to go all potty-mouthed on beloved cartoon characters.

Clearly that piece of advice was never imparted to Christina Aguilera, who reportedly called Mickey Mouse an A-hole during a recent trip with some friends to Disneyland to celebrate her 34th birthday.  (Irony Alert: Christina used to be a Mouseketeer.)  The alleged confrontation happened when Xtina wanted to “say cheese” in a photo op with a theme park worker wearing full Mickey regalia. But when the worker declined the offer, announcing he was on a scheduled break, the pop diva allegedly let fly with the A-bomb.

That’s bad enough, but she also allegedly delivered the inexcusable line every spoiled, indulged and egotistical prima donna has uttered when the unwashed masses don’t bow and scrape to their satisfaction: “Do you know who I am?” (By the way, if you’re ever on the receiving end of that nastiness, the proper sarcastic retort is, “no, but let me see if I can get you some help…Hey, can anybody help identify this woman? She’s forgotten who she is.”)  The public handsomely rewards celebs who hold onto the ability to show empathy and not make everything all about them.

The last thing people in the public eye should do is get abusive with others when they don’t get their way.


Pic via EPA/Larry Smith, NJ.com

PDAs We Could Have Done Without

The “bromance” that is clearly in full swing between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and N.J. Governor Chris Christie is unsavory enough, but do we really need to see them hugging (or at least attempting to) on national television?  I think not.  A double high-five would have sufficed.  I’m sure Christie’s handlers have suggested that he and Jones be more choreographed in their reaction this Sunday at Lambeau Field, of course, (as long as the Cowboys win).

We also could have been spared the Capitol Hill smooch between House Speaker John Boehner and his predecessor Nancy Pelosi.

If the credibility behind your public displays of affection are likely to be questioned, it’s best to refrain. Just ask Judas; it’s been over two thousand years and he still hasn’t lived his down.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.
Publish date: January 8, 2015 https://stage.adweek.com/digital/what-would-bill-do-media-coach-bill-mcgowan-takes-on-the-weeks-news-8/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT