It’s tough when public figures behave badly for they’re scrutinized more than your average Joe. One celebrity feeling the impact of his actions is Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In case you missed the story, he recently admitted to his wife, Maria Shriver and his entire family, that ten years ago he fathered a love child. A boy to one of their own household staff. This all happened under this family’s nose and the story never leaked until today.
Being a former politician, Arnold understands the importance of “spin” and “damage control.” These are two words that he needs act upon now more than ever, in addition to hiring a top-notch crisis management PR firm. I love practicing my PR trade with real-life examples, and, therefore, if Arnold became my client…here’s the advice I’d give him at this time.
FREE PR ADVICE FOR ARNOLD
(1). LAY LOW – The best thing Arnold can do is lay low and stay out of the spotlight. He needs to get his house in order first and start working on how he is going to handle announcing the name of his love child. He doesn’t need to be dining with anyone or attending out of town conferences for he is going to be followed at nauseum by the paparazzi. The paparazzi are on high alert to capture Arnold with any women and especially to snap photos with the mother of his love child. Hence, the real need is to be discreet because he is going to be followed every where he goes.
(2.) TABLOIDS – At this very moment, the tabloids are working overtime to come up with the name and photos of his love child. My advice is that Arnold needs to control the story and out him himself. He should work with a press-friendly TV reporter on a national news program and give an exclusive interview. He needs to do anything he can to protect that kid from being humiliated by the tabloids or paparazzi if they get to him first.
(3.) FORCED VACATION – I would put the love child in a lock down situation and I would do the same for the mom. They should be vacationing somewhere where they couldn’t be found until a media strategy is in place that will announce their identities.
(4.) BE ON GUARD – Arnold needs to be vigilant regarding his actions. He needs to take the time that is necessary to heal the wounds with his family and should not be seen conducting business at say places like casinos or on yachts. He must keep his profile low.
(5). AVE MARIA – Maria is in a good place. The statement she issued was spot on and requires no further explanation. The world understands what she is going through and it needs to give her space for this is a private family matter.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
This is not the first time a celebrity or politician has fathered a love child and it won’t be the last. In time, Arnold will gain back his stature as well as his credibility and integrity if he handles this sensitive situation right. It’s a difficult time for all involved and their press strategists need to do whatever they can to help this family situation remain private.
Yes it stinks that Arnold kept this occurrence a secret from his family and from the voters. Arnold knew that if he copped to this incident before he was elected, then he would not have been elected. And now that the cat is out the bag, I guess you can say that Californian’s feel cheated because they didn’t now the whole truth about him.
Arnold has much damage control to do not only with his immediate family of 5, and his love clan of 2, but also with the over 37 million California residents.
If any one can handle this situation, it’s Arnold. Never count that guy out.
I’ll keep my eye on this case and provide PR insights when needed. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what you would do if you were Arnold.