How does one survive a public scandal? Much worse for a celebrity if its an internet sex scandal with the photos circulating online for at least, a millenia.
How can a publicist handle this PR spin?
A perfect example would be the case of Asian star Edison Chen, after photos showing him and several women in explicit sexual acts hit online, the actor went under the radar. It took him a year to issue a public apology to those involved and affected by the scandal.
He makes a video apology, looking neutral and prim, almost harmless. The grey backdrop helps dull out the message, no hint of glitter from this tarnished star.
His speech, highlight some key points, which is good for some publicists to take note of -
• He failed as a role model
• He wants to find healing
• He is sorry for the pain
• He is repentant and wants to be forgiven.
Forget the starlets out to claw his eyes out, its all about winning the public trust of his Chinese fans, and getting back in the game like Michael Vick.
I think the timing was just right for Mr. Edison Chen, avoiding the height of the outrage, afterall it takes possibly a year for a scandal to go stale.
Here is Edison Chen's speech from his video:
Today I have come back to Hong Kong to stand before you and account for myself. I have never escaped from my responsibility. During the past few weeks, I have been with my mother and my family and my loved ones to show support and care and at the same time to have them support and care for me.
I admit that most of the photos being circulated on the Internet were taken by me. But these photos are very private and have not been shown to people and are never intended to be shown to anyone. These photos were stolen from me illegally and distributed without my consent.
There is no doubt whoever obtained these photos have them uploaded on the Internet with malicious and deliberate intent. This matter has deteriorated to the extent that society as a whole has been affected by this. In this regard, I am deeply saddened. I would like now to apologize to all the people for all the suffering that has been caused and the problems that have arisen from this. I would like to apologize to all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been feeling. I am sorry. I would like to also apologize to my mother and my father for the pain and suffering I have caused them during the past few weeks. Most importantly, I would like to say sorry to all the people of Hong Kong. I give my apology sincerely to you all, unreservedly and with my heart.
I know young people in Hong Kong look up to many figures in our society. And in this regard, I have failed. I failed as a role model.
However, I wish this matter will teach everyone a lesson. To all the young people in our community, let this be a lesson for you all. This is not an example to be set for you.
During my time away, I have made an important decision. I will whole-heartedly fulfill all commitments that I have to date. But after that, I decided to step away from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. I have decided to do this to give myself an opportunity to heal myself and to search my soul. I will dedicate my time to charity and community work within the next few months. I will be away from Hong Kong entertainment industry indefinitely. There is no time frame.
I have been assisting the police since the first day the photos were published and I will continue to assist them. After this press con., I have obligation to help them with their investigation and hope that this case can end soon as everyone I think has the same wish.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank the police for their hard work on this case. Thank you. I believe everyone’s priority now (and) my priority now is to stop the suffering and pain, for not letting this…we do not want to let this situation become more out of control.
We need to protect all the innocents and all the young from matters like this. In this regard, I have instructed my lawyers to do everything possible within the law to protect all the innocents, victims of this case. I believe that a press statement is being issued as we speak on what my lawyers have advised me to do.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for coming here today and listening to what I have to say. I would like to also apologize once again to all the ladies and their families, my family and to everyone in Hong Kong and everyone in our society. I am deeply saddened by this. And I apologize to everyone (who) has to go through this. I would like to also thank you for giving me this opportunity to say what I have wanted to say all along in my heart.
I hope, after today, I can have your forgiveness. With regard to this case, with everything, everything that has happened, I am deeply sorry. I hope you all accept my apology and give me a chance. Thank you."