Have you been following one of the most interesting PR Consultant/client disagreements of modern times? I’m referring, of course, to John Saunders of Fleishman Hillard and Van Morrison. Saunders initiated legal action against Van Morrison. That was after he found that information he had given to media (and repeated in an interview on RTE News) was inaccurate. Saunders was representing Morrison at the time. He had denied that his client had fathered a young boy, named Van, with Gigi Lee, his American manager. Both Lee, and her son, have since died.
As clients – we are all human. People make mistakes and try to prevent hurt to close members of their families. They try to buy time and use different ways to relay information.
Lawyers are trained to represent their clients and defend/prosecute to the best of their ability. They ‘put their case’ and await the verdict of the jury. The role of a public relations consultant is very similar to that of a lawyer. He/she represent you in the ‘court of media.’ Also, in the case of the PR consultants, his/her personal integrity and reputation are at stake.
Outcome Because of PR
The case was settled out of court. Morrison issued a statement that John Saunders “had acted with integrity and on the express instruction of Mr. Morrison”. This is an important statement for the entire PR profession as much as for the journalists who work with them. It doesn’t matter how the confusion or misrepresentation arose. What matters is that Saunders be believed by the ‘court of media’ in which he operates. He has restored his reputation, with Morrison’s help. That is the goal of PR practise.
If only it had received greater coverage!
Public Relation practitioners seek to influence publics’ perception of their clients. Especially with the media involved. Learn how to manage communication even in dense and dark situations with a client.See More