As a PR professional it is important to fact check stories and graphics before publication. In the entertainment industry, it is common for tabloids to publish fake stories, but for major publication’s, release false information can be damaging to the celebrity and publication’s reputation.
At the 2016 Oscars, Total Beauty was tweeting celebrities’ dresses from the Red Carpet. They tweeted a picture of Whoopi Goldberg and called her Oprah. People immediately reacted and the tweet was taken down within a few minutes. Numerous news sources including CNN covered this story: Total Beauty Mishap
So Why is this a Problem?
Well for starters, Total Beauty should not have tweeted a celebrity without knowing her name. But also, this is a racial issue because whoever was tweeting thought the two women looked alike. Many twitter follows called the publication racist.
Total Beauty’s Response
Total Beauty issued an apology through Twitter saying, “We’d like to apologize to Oprah and Whoopi, as well as everyone we’ve offended. It was our error, and there are no excuses. We’re sorry.”
Then, they followed up by saying they would donate $10,000 to Oprah and Whoopi’s respective charities.
Whoopi and Oprah’s Responses
Luckily for Total Beauty, Oprah and Whoopi both brushed this mix up off as a joke. Oprah poked fun at the publication on Instagram. Whereas, Whoopi said it was a mistake. “I feel pretty good if you’re comparing me to Oprah. Saying I look like Oprah, that’s not a bad thing,” Whoopi said on The View the following morning.
What I have learned from this
It is fair to say that I will make mistakes a professional, but it is easy to avoid mistakes like this one if I fact check and make sure I’m 100% certain my story or post is correct. Part of my Editor’s Credo says, “I promise to look at the content and accuracy of the information and quotes of my stories.” By following this, I will avoid major problems.
However, should I make a mistake like Total Beauty’s tweet, I need to take full responsibility and apologize right away. Although Total Beauty received some backlash, it was not nearly as harsh as it could have been. I think both celebrities brushed it off because of the apology and the donation.
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