Roseanne Barr’s Brand Damaged After Twitter Statement
Anothony D’Angelo, a professor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School and Director of public relations, was one of three public relations professionals recently quoted in the The Wall Street Journal in a story about Roseanne Barr’s racist tweets. D’Angelo wrote:
“Roseanne Barr’s brand of irascible, sometimes outrageous humor made her rich, despite notable bumps on her way to enduring celebrity. Now her brand is damaged such that ABC/Disney and advertisers won’t–indeed, can’t–associate with it for the time being.
“Social-media echo chambers expose and amplify celebrity blunders, causing employers and sponsors to react immediately or be seen as tolerating them, or at least equivocating. For effective crisis response, they must confirm whether they have all the facts, rapidly calculate the degree of offense or offensiveness, determine which audiences are offended and how much their reactions will impinge on the health of the business.
“So patently offensive was Ms. Barr’s tweet that Disney/ABC didn’t have a lot to ponder; its leadership’s swift, decisive reaction was textbook. Mr. Sherwood’s timely internal memo following the incident was consistent with the company’s decisions and external communications, showing sensitivity and earning credibility in a career-altering time for blameless employees.
“Disney/ABC’s zero-tolerance response spoke confidently for its own brands. Short term that [may] mean a substantial revenue loss and [possibly] layoffs, too, but those may well have happened had the network only apologized and tried to keep ‘Roseanne’ despite what would have become metastasizing criticism. Instead, it avoided reputational erosion that could have had a terribly long half-life.”