This advice is not new: When it comes to a PR crisis, own up to the mistake quickly. Don’t deflect blame, don’t try to sweep it under the rug; admit the problem, do what you can to fix it and let people know what you’re doing along those lines, and move past it as fast as you can. What did Mariah Carey do after the debacle that was her performance on New Year’s Eve at Time Square? None of the above. Instead, she’s blamed others, gone so far as to declare that Dick Clark Productions sabotaged her performance on purpose, done nothing to counteract the problem, and in general whined about her woes.
Possibly starting 2017 with the biggest PR faux pas of the year within just a few seconds of it beginning; that’s the result Carey is facing now. Instead of it just being another flash-in-the-pan live-on-stage error, her finger pointing and complaining is keeping the matter in the media. Every time that happens, social media blows up with negative comments about her. Despite her antics a few days ago, she’s a gifted artist. The other result, well, every time social media cycles the information through again, more people rush to YouTube to see the video of her broken performance. So there were plenty that saw it on their television when it happened and lots who saw it live in Time Square, but the numbers have amplified way beyond that with YouTube views and Facebook articles.
Still, she hasn’t owned up to her failures during the show but instead continues to blame others. Lip syncing scandals go back to at least the Milli Vanilli debacle, so you’d think that Ms. Carey would know better than to try the diva stunts at a time like this. Be humble, record a new video of the song and dedicate it to the fans who missed getting it at Times Square, apologize for the mix-up, and move on with life. Instead, she’s becoming the stuff of late-night television jokes.
Her theory that the production company did this to make it a truly memorable performance to increase ratings is laughable. It comes across exactly as we see it: a desperate effort to deflect blame. If she wants to fix the problem, she needs to change her current strategy AND FAST! Just about everyone can empathize with someone who made a mistake and is facing the consequences. It’s easy to relate to and therefore easier to forgive. Her fans would see it as endearing eventually, and her critics would admire her honesty. But blaming others and throwing something of a tantrum in the process drives away the fans and leaves critics with a lot of fodder to use for months or even years.
It’s time to turn this around: Ms. Carey, it’s time to put some hard work into getting a sincere public apology out to your fans and the rest of world.
About Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.