Remember the old saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all"? It's still true. Take Twitter®: In the past year, we've seen multiple celebrity meltdowns on the popular social media site.
We chatted with Lorinzo Foxworth, an organizational behavioral specialist and an MBA program faculty member at University of Phoenix, to see how these celebrities could've handled the situation differently to avoid the meltdowns (seen in all their unedited glory, below) and help preserve the stars' personal brands.
What happened: After the scandal at Penn State University, Kutcher disagreed with the firing of Joe Paterno and tweeted, "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste." He went on to apologize after an avalanche of negative feedback, but the damage had been done. How he should've handled it:Foxworth says, "Insult and no class are poor words to choose. If he [had chosen] different words or removed those, the outcome might've been different."
What happened:On an American Airlines flight out of Los Angeles, Baldwin refused to turn off his phone for taxi and takeoff. After arguing with the flight crew and being kicked off the plane, Baldwin tweeted, "Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt" How he should've handled it:"I like Alec Baldwin, but he knows when the plane taxis, all electronic media goes off," Foxworth says. "After his Twitter rant, he could've tweeted that he made a mistake and that he was going to send a letter to AA and apologize."
What happened:Brown was asked about his domestic incident with Rihanna during an album promotion on "Good Morning America." On-air, he seemed calm, but after the show Brown erupted at the producers and broke his dressing-room window, then he took to Twitter, posting, "I'm so over people bring this past **** up!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for there [sic] bull****" How he should've handled it:"He should see a counselor or vent to a friend," Foxworth says. "An apology is good, but a lot of people already think very badly of him."
What happened:At a Time magazine event, Batali, a celebrity chef who runs a slew of high-end restaurants where his clientele consists of wealthy people, tweeted, "The way the bankers have toppled the way money is distributed -- and taken most of it into their own hands -- is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys." Batali wasn't thinking about how many of his diners are bankers. How he should've handled it:"Anytime you compare someone to Hitler or Stalin, they better deserve it," Foxworth says. He suggests that Batali should've proposed a free lunch for the wealthy where they sit down and find solutions for America's problems. This way, he could share his concern with the banking industry in a less charged way.
What happened: The producers of Sheen's hit TV show asked him to go to rehab for continued substance-abuse problems, and they canceled the remaining four episodes of the season. Instead, Sheen took to the airwaves, bad-mouthing the creator of the show. He continued his rants in multiple news interviews as well as on Twitter, where #winning became a trending topic phenomenon. How he should've handled it: "Instead of trying to tone down the situation, he made it worse," Foxworth says. "Although he's a narcissistic drunk playing a narcissistic drunk on TV, you have to be humble at times." Sheen should've apologized and moved on.