Stan Rosenfield is actor Charlie Sheen’s publicist. He is doing an amazing job managing that actor’s reputation and definitely earns every penny he makes on the account. He and Sheen’s stable of managers have deftly handled numerous personal antics including wild parties, court cases, lost cars, hospitalization, work shut downs, salary differences, etc. etc. etc. This Sheen team has done so well that despite all — this celebrity’s “star” still shines. (Note: I highly recommend PR practitioners follow Rosenfield work as a case study of a job well done.)
PUBLICISTS NEVER HAVE FULL CONTROL
But, here’s my note to Publicists – no matter how well you do your job publicizing a client, at the end of the day – we are still dealing with humans who have free will.
Here’s my case in point — Sheen’s surprise phone call last Monday to syndicated radio program”The Dan Patrick Show.” I felt for Rosenfield when I read about this situation. This publicist has been “caring” for Charlie’s brand 24/7 and has a strategy in place that will work beautifully if Charlie Sheen obeys and follows the program. However, when Charlie took it upon himself to call a media outlet and freely talk about his current plight, Rosenfield’s strategy came tumbling down into crisis management mode. By Sheen calling the radio program on his own, he undid everything Rosenfield had in place to protect Sheen’s brand whether or not he ever needs to defend himself in court or at work. By Sheen doing this, he left his brand flailing in the wind.
Luckily, Dan Patrick of “The Dan Patrick Show” is a pro and he handled the interview well and understood what was going on. We, viewers and humans, realize that something is going on with Mr. Sheen and that his antics point to something within. That’s all I’m going to say about Sheen.
THERE’S ONLY SO MUCH PUBLICISTS CAN DO
This thought lead me to this...in some instances I believe publicists “protect” clients too much. Yes, we are hired to help during crises and we are told to clean up sloppy personal messes. There are many things we can do to make bad situations forgotten. However, we need to ask ourselves whether or not we are hurting them more by not letting them be accountable for their actions. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our actions unless we are younger than 18 years of age. I was reminded of this when I read Billy Ray Cyrus saying that by having his daughter on TV at an early age that was the downfall of the entire family. Really? Yes, by being in the public eye, there are enormous pressures…but with good decisions, good management and leadership…scales that are off balance can be closer to being balanced.
Charlie Sheen needs to get his scales balanced and he’s not alone. We all have the same responsibilities no matter our circumstances or job or role in life. There’s only so much a publicist can do.
Do you over-protect others?