Thursday, March 27, 2014

Self Magazine Runs into a Marathon of Bad PR

When a woman running a marathon dresses as Wonder Woman, she's going to get attention.  And that's just what happened to Monika Allen when a photographer snapped her picture during the race.  She says she wasn't too surprised when she received a call later asking if a magazine could use the image in an upcoming issue of Self magazine, in fact she was elated about it.

The trouble was, when the article came out, instead of the good press she was hoping for she got open ridicule for her attire,  (see excerpt above).  Allen did what most people would do, she called and emailed the editor and complained. Monika Allen's attempts at explanation went unanswered until her local TV station was contacted about the incident and learned the woman is a brain cancer patient and her tutus are sold to raise money for a charity that encourages athletic participation by girls called Glam Runner.

Yikes. Suddently SELF magazine wanted to talk to Monika and suddenly the editor also wanted to talk to the press in a misguided and delayed attempt at damage control.

"I am personally mortified," Lucy Danziger, the magazine's editor-in-chief, told USA Today. "I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake. We shouldn't have run the item."

She also told the outlet that she is personally reaching out to Allen and plans to support her charity.
But supporters of Allen and Glam Runner may not be so quick to forgive as evidenced by the comments they’ve made on the group’s Facebook page.

"Shame on Self!" one fan wrote. "Not subscribing anymore. I had a non-cancerous brain tumor the size of a medium lemon removed several years ago. Never judge anyone. You don’t know their reason for doing what they do."

Not only did Danziger not issue a declarative mea cul;pa on her social media networks until 3:30 PM March 27 she called the item an "inadvertent mistake". As if making fun of woman running in a tutu would be okay if they knew she was healthy.  Understandably the public, particularly women, are outraged. 

This is a big hole SELF has dug for itself that could have been filled had they done the following:
  • Upon recognition of the backlash, reached out to the offended party with a SINCERE apology and offer to make a financial  contribution to her charity.
  • Made a declarative statement on all SELF social media networks and website admitting the lapse in judgement and talking about what they WILL do to make it right, including the AMOUNT donated to the charity.
  • Offer to feature Monika Allen and her charity on the next cover of SELF.
  • Lead a serious discourse on internal editorial direction of the publication and determine whihc heads will roll for this lapse in judgement.
  • Publish an open letter to any and all subscribers, and readers of SELF explaining EXACTLY what the publication plans to do to make up for the debacle.

No comments: