Quoth the Raven
Some ramblings on my experiences with public relations

I’ll have my people call your people

Madonna and Guy Ritchie

Whenever I log into Hotmail, “MSN Today” sees fit to update me on the latest celebrity news. Today’s big headline was one that caught my eye: “Splitsville for Madonna and Guy?”

Being a sometime sucker for status updates on celebrity couples, I investigated. The rumour circulating is that Madonna and her husband of eight years, Guy Ritchie, will be separating next year. For some bizarre reason, they will be “keeping up appearances” for the next eighteen months, timing that coincidentally coincides with the conclusion of Madonna’s latest album launch and world tour.

Though it’s a somewhat strange story, the part of the article that really caught my eye was the dismissal of the statements from Madonna’s representative; it states, “Madonna’s rep denies her client is either single or ready to mingle, but it seems like a breakup is inevitable.” The author, Ryan Porter, also pokes fun at her publicist’s official statement:

Madonna’s publicist, Liz “Munchies” Rosenberg, worked long and hard on this statement, so we have to conceed she’s really serious: “I am delighted to confirm that Mr. and Mrs. Guy Ritchie remain happily married. Though they were in different countries recently–Madonna in the U.S. doing promotion for her upcoming album Hard Candy and Guy finishing up post production on his new film RocknRolla as well as completing a Nike commercial and working on several scripts in England–the family are joyfully back together at home in London. All is well and wonderful in the Ritchie household.”

The statement may be a little overly sugary, but it struck me that Porter put absolutely no stock in what Rosenberg said, concluding that she was simply covering for her client. It seems that this is almost always the case with celebrity publicists; they issue statements whenever their clients end up in the public eye, but these statements are immediately dismissed by journalists and the general public alike as bold-faced lies.

In an industry where you’re instantly presumed to be withholding the truth before you even open your mouth, how do you have any credibility as a PR professional? Should statements such as Rosenberg’s address more of the negative aspects of the rumour, as well as the positive? Should publicists refrain from making such statements at all, and use another approach instead? What are your thoughts?


One Response to “I’ll have my people call your people”

  1. Hm, I saw the same pop-up news flash, and immediately dismissed it. I think celebrity publicists are constantly dealing with extreme rumors and having to issue statements that tell people to “mind their own business, let them be.” Most times when a statement isn’t issued, the rumor simply escalates. But by making a very blanketed and general statement they may pacify the issue for the moment or put the issue to bed and hope that journalists (and the public) move on to the next sensational story.

    Ah the life of Madonna’s publicist…

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