This is the modern age, the age of the super-injunction, the age when celebrities want to keep their dirty laundry in bomb- and journalist-proof cages so that not even the slightest whiff of scandal can escape.
Of course, it’s just not as easy as that, as the furore over someone posting information on Twitter about people who have allegedly taken out super-injunctions proves. My instinct suggests that the poster is simply a nobody seeking a rather risky path to fame; but this does not alter the fact that technology changes at an exponentially faster rate than humanity’s baser instincts, as this outbreak of injunction-exposure, and the reaction to it, shows all too clearly.
Even the royal family, who have learned the hard way about bad publicity, cannot prevent occasional slips of image – as witness the recent bra-and-skirt dancing pics of Pippa Middleton, Princess Kate’s sister. Mind you, if all that can be found is such tame photos, the royal PR machine must be pretty happy.
It’s not been so easy for other cagey public figures lately, of course. The trick for a good publicist whose client finds themselves in difficult circumstances is to stand by their client and, once the trouble’s passed, give them truthful, honest advice and create them a forgiving profile. I remember, years ago, a client ringing me up in a panic that the Sunday People was about to run an expose on him. I had to ask “Is it true”. “Of course it is,” he replied. “Now can you make it go away?”
These days, I would work with him to try and make sure it never happened in the first place.
Crises come and crices go: the trick is to develop a pleasant outward demeanour for the client. If they can live up to it they’ll do well, but in these Twitter-fuelled days a caddish serial offender who tries to hide will be found out. Twitter make a PR’s job harder, not easier.
The human imagination is a powerful space and the need to weave a story is inherent to it. We have entered an age of democratic experimentation, so it is time to come to terms with this truth. The social space has, and the legal profession is powerless and ineffective against it.
The days of things being suppressed for decades are over, thanks to Twitter. We’re not living in old Hollywood any more. Time for everyone to change their ways of thinking…