Doing your own damage control

When a celebrity faces an embarrassing scandal or some story that could drag their name through the mud, the star often relies on a personal publicist. Sometimes that is a lawyer but most often it is someone who specializes in crisis management.

Publicists are not only the gatekeeper when it comes to promoting the celeb and his or her projects in a favourable light, but also handling the day-to-day drama stars are known for getting into.

For the most part, anytime there is a cleverly written and well-crafted statement it is thanks to the publicist and the star in question probably hasn’t even seen the words that will be made public, instead simply trusting in the expertise of the hired help.

In the case of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Charlie Sheen – or even Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford — the tasks of the personal rep can be exhausting. Sometimes so much that staff jumps ship and bails on their famous boss.

Lohan has a revolving door of lawyers and publicists, each at one time throwing in the towel of being unable to represent the troubled star. For some reason the representatives come back. Why? Maybe they like a challenge but most likely it is because they know they have job security based on how messed up a celebrity lifestyle can be.

For Ford’s part, he had two of his press secretaries resign. Local media reports said the staffers quit “on principle.” Ford has been the subject of controversy and scandal in recent months, now with a video widely circulating that purportedly shows the mayor smoking crack.

While Ford denies the claims — and recently lashed out at the media, calling reporters “a bunch of maggots” — it’s no wonder that some PR experts would jump from the sinking ship and let the client tread water on their own.

For an entertainment reporter like me, when there is no more filter of a personal representative this is the juicy stuff we love to see as the true colours of a star begin to show.

The general public doesn’t realize how much a rep sanitizes, filters, fluffs and spins. When a celebrity is on their own PR experts sit back and watch the fireworks. (You’ll recall Charlie Sheen’s “winning” catchphrase and subsequent sold-out North American tour.)

There is nothing funnier than a troubled star lashing out at anyone, everyone and everything in the hopes of being respected when in actuality it has the opposite effect.

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