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Surviving Celebrity News

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Surviving Celebrity News

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Learn about best practices for reporting on celebrity boating news with this Case Study from the Nevada Department of Wildlife from 2013 about Erin Brockovich's BUI arrest.

Learn about best practices for reporting on celebrity boating news with this Case Study from the Nevada Department of Wildlife from 2013 about Erin Brockovich's BUI arrest.

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Surviving Celebrity News

  1. 1. Surviving Celebrity News The Real Erin Brockovich Story, 2013 WWW.BOATBEAT.ORG
  2. 2. Overview + In June 2013, The Nevada Department of Wildlife arrested Erin Brockovich for operating a boat under the influence + Brockovich was the subject of a year 2000 biopic and was played by Julia Roberts + Although not a “movie star” herself, the Brockovich arrest created extreme interest from “entertainment media” and tested agency resources
  3. 3. Celebrity News + Adding the element of celebrity to any event adds extreme scrutiny + Celebrity can test your crisis media policies, practices and skills + The rules of PR change under Hollywood’s gaze + It can happen to any of you at any time
  4. 4. More “Fame” Now Than Ever + Reality television + Armchair politicians, socialites and the “wealthy” + Social media and YouTube “stars” + Fame is more common, harder to quantify yet drives the news cycle like nothing else + Arguably Brockovich is “famous” but how famous?
  5. 5. Incident Summary + Fri. June 7, 2013 at about 6:30 pm game warden encounters Brockovich as Operating Under the Influence + Law Enforcement team discusses at about 7:30 following arrest + Ed Lyngar is contacted by arresting officer at 9 pm during transport of Brockovich to jail + She is booked into Clark County detention center + Makes bail sometime Saturday Morning + Media story broken by gossip site TMZ on Saturday at 9:30 pm
  6. 6. Fun Facts Behind Incident + Ed Lyngar was asked to “hold” it through weekend + Arresting officer had been out of FTO status for less than a month, was 23 years old, first arrest + After the story broke, the Nevada Department of Wildlife issued a pre-prepared statement
  7. 7. Statement A Nevada Department of Wildlife game warden arrested Erin Brockovich-Ellis for operating a boat under the influence of alcohol at Las Vegas Boat Harbor … Our game warden observed Brockovich-Ellis struggling to dock her boat and attempted to assist her when he noticed … several signs of being intoxicated. After a thorough investigation, the game warden arrested Brockovich-Ellis and transported her to the Clark County Detention Center. The suspect was cooperative … This incident serves as a reminder that boating under the influence is a crime on par with driving under the influence. Many boaters do not realize that the penalties for OUI and DUI are virtually identical, including immediate arrest and heavy fines.
  8. 8. All Media Hell Breaks Loose + Saturday night, all day Sunday, calls come in from all over the world + Received an endless parade of phone calls for 48 solid hours + Late Sunday evening, Ed Lyngar got sick of calls, and reached out to AP and gave a long interview to attempt to stop the incoming calls
  9. 9. Photo + Calls slowed Until Monday afternoon when Ed Lyngar dropped this unfortunate pic + Released with D.A. permission + 100 Million hits (said Katie Couric) + New statement included + Re-Ignited original firestorm
  10. 10. Follow Up Statement (Mon) + Attached is the Erin Brockovich-Ellis booking photo ... (basic case info) + This case is just one of many OUI arrests game wardens with Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) make every summer on Nevada waters. Operating under the influence is a serious and ongoing problem in boating … (few more facts) + On the weekend of June 28th, 2013 Nevada and other boating agencies across the nation will participate in “Operation Dry Water” a weekend-long event designed to discourage drunken boating. Learn more on the web at http://operationdrywater.org/
  11. 11. Brockovich Issues Apology + June 10, 2013 Brockovich issues very savvy “apology” + Blunted the impact of the final report issued 2 days later (that included some unfortunate detail)
  12. 12. The Aftermath + Several weeks of news churn + Our part mostly over following “mug” and release of final report + Brockovich manages her own crisis media, culminating with an interview on Katie Couric + http://katiecouric.com/videos/exclusive-erin-brockovich-breaks- silence-oui-arrest/
  13. 13. Katie Couric Interview + Ended any worry of a “legal” defense + Shows savvy crisis media management by Brockovich + Public apology effectively “ended” the story
  14. 14. Benefits to Celebrity + Without being a ghoul about it: Celebrity interactions offer an opportunity + Few people care about issues such as OUI, until someone is killed or someone famous is arrested: Feel good about exploiting the latter + Do treat celebrities with compassion: They are human beings, but we can and should NOT try and protect them from their own actions
  15. 15. What To Do Differently + Release the mug shot on agency social media rather than over e-mail + Would have issued a preemptive statement (original plan) + Conduct better follow up with reporters after + Convince DA to make PSA part of plea deal (we tried this but DA balked at it)
  16. 16. Update on Brockovich + Has had several appearances since OUI arrest + Will not work with NDOW for PSA + Has successfully put the incident behind her + Did help raise the level of attention on OUI
  17. 17. In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. -Andy Warhol
  18. 18. Surviving Celebrity News Questions? Contact: Ed Lyngar Nevada Department of Wildlife elyngar@ndow.org or 775-688-1548 WWW.BOATBEAT.ORG

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