Charlie Sheen: The Ultimate PR Crisis

In more than 20 years of professional PR counseling, I’ve yet to tell a client to utter the words, “No Comment” to the press. It’s akin to saying, “I’m guilty” or “I have something to hide” in the world of public perception. However, today, I am coining a new term, “Pulling a Charlie Sheen,” which leads me to my inevitable conclusion. ┬áIf I were Charlie Sheen’s publicist–oh, that’s right, he just quit–I would tell him to simply keep his mouth shut. Whenever he does open it, he inserts his foot. Many American’s enjoy watching celebrity meltdowns on television or listening to their rants on talk radio – heck, even media sites like make a business out of provoking celebrities to anger in ambush interviews and paparazzi style photo opportunities. As a public relations teacher, we’ve enjoyed discussing the escapades of Charlie Sheen for the purpose of examining what not to do in a crisis PR scenario. It was actually a midterm assignment for my students. His story has all the earmarks of a disaster in the making. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is a disaster every day. What more do the students say? I will give every student in class 50 extra credit points if any of their blog comments to this post gets picked up by a national news outlet before our final exam on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Sorry Charlie! Coincidentally, a USA Today article here quotes him as saying that yesterday’s radio call-in rant could be his last. I nearly fell out of my chair laughing in disbelief. If you believe that, I’ve got a great at-home drug rehab program for you.