Introducing a PR Nightmare

By Aldeanna Donald, Chapter Member

By this point, I doubt there is anyone who has not heard about the troubles Justin Bieber finds himself drowning in these days.  For all of us public relations students, it is difficult to follow his antics without wondering what kind of hoops his publicist is juggling through in order to keep his public persona viable.  I have no interest in entertainment PR, but I find myself wondering how any of us would handle his steady decline into lawlessness.

I have yet to take a class in crisis public relations, however, I feel as if Bieber’s arrest for drunk driving would be a perfect case study.  He is a teenager accused of drag racing in Miami while under the influence. Though I am sure he feels it is his right to spread his wings and live his life as he pleases, he is living his life under the watchful eye of the public.  As a publicist, one would have to consider how his actions reflect upon his many pre-teen and teenage fans.  He is a role model whether he wants to be or not.  Right now, he is failing miserably in this capacity.

What will it take to clean up Bieber’s public image?  First of all, an apology is in order.  This apology needs to be made as publicly as possible.  He needs to take into consideration the disappointed parents of his fan who will hardly appreciate his actions of late and their influence on young children.  I seriously doubt these parents will be doling out big bucks on any future Bieber endeavors without some form of recompense.  He should also consider his fans’ reactions.  Recently a young fan drafted a letter to Bieber expressing her disappointment in his behavior.

According to, a young fan named Serafina wrote,

Dear Justin Bieber,

I’m very disappointed. It breaks my heart that you were in jail for just one night. I loved most of your songs. I dance to them a lot! So many things have changed this year. This is the biggest one yet! Why did you do it? Why did you race cars? What made you do it? Didn’t you know it was a bad thing to do?

bieber letter 660

Now would be a good time for Bieber to inundate social media with his heartfelt apologies to this little girl as well as his legions of fans around the world.  Perhaps he could do a television appearance, such as the one Chris Brown attempted with Larry King, to explain his recent bad choices. Whatever he choses to do it must be done sooner rather than later.  With each passing day, his reputation suffers.

His second goal, in his mission to re-establish his good name, could possibly be a public service announcement about the dangers of drinking and driving.  However, he would have to make sure his message was sincere or it could backfire horribly.  I do not envy the job his public relations crew has ahead of them.  His life choices, however, give us public relations students food for thought.  Everyone makes mistakes, but it is how we deal with those mistakes that is the difference between youthful indiscretion and career suicide.  This is the lesson Justin Bieber must learn.

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