Word is spreading that Lori Loughlin and her husband Mossimo Giannulli, who are accused
of paying bribes to get their daughter into USC, now are shopping for a crisis
litigation PR expert to resurrect her image.
We are not among the firms contacted,
and Loughlin’s publicist denies the report.
However, two crisis PR firms, who chose to remain anonymous, told CNN
they were called to discuss public relations strategies because Loughlin is
quite upset that all the news about her is about the scandal and not her
Whether this is real or fake news, both
firms said they turned down working for Loughlin. And for good reason. When someone is faced with criminal charged –
charges that could result in jail time – a career should take second place to
beating the case. It won’t do much good
to have a great image while in prison.
The example that is commonly cited for a
celebrity image resurrection is Martha Stewart.
Stewart was convicted of a stock fraud scheme and served time in
prison. She did her time, her company continued
without her, and when she was released she picked up where she left off. Today, few remember or care that she is a convicted
Since Loughlin pleaded not guilty, rather
than guilty as the others did, the government added charges of money laundering
and hence potentially more time in prison if convicted. This could be legal maneuvering or maybe
denial, but in any event, it doesn’t look good for Loughlin and Giannulli.
So let’s take a look into the
future. Suppose she does prison time
(unlikely as it is) and after a year or so gets released. Can she pick up the pieces of her acting
career? Already since the indictment she
has lost her Hallmark contract and other acting jobs. She is essentially “Hollywood toxic” as of
now. Her daughter, Olivia Jade lost most
if not all of her sponsors for her YouTube channel. But she is young and Loughlin claims she didn’t
know of the scam. Time will tell.
If Loughlin goes to prison, her first
task will be to write a book. It will be
a tell all book about “doing the right thing” and how to succeed after a major
setback. This, if she admits wrongdoing,
and that’s a big question. Then, the
release of her book will be timed with her release from prison so she can make
the talk circuit rounds. She’ll do The View,
Colbert, 60 Minutes. The usual
round. She will talk about what she has
learned and how it made her a stronger person.
For those of us in the crisis PR business,
there is a template for re-creating an image.
There are limits, such as heinous crimes that can’t be forgiven, but
most celebrities are the white collar sort of criminals. People forgive and forget, especially if they
were not hurt personally.
There is no doubt Lori Loughlin and
Felicity Huffman will land on their feet, sooner or later. Fortunately for them they have the financial
means to stick it out, buy the best lawyers and pay the bills. The lasting mark will be on the internet, on
their Wikipedia pages that will note their transgressions but it is more likely
than not that if they do time, they will resume their lives with the help of
professional crisis PR experts.