The Further Effects of the Crisis for Kathy Griffin

Crises are not always need and easy to resolve because the negative effects can continue over time.  This seems especially true for reputational crises, just ask Sea World about Blackfish.  Since the initial post about the crisis, Griffin has lost here New Year’s Eve co-host spot with CNN and tour dates have been cancelled.  Here is part of a story about the tour:

“Griffin’s Celebrity Run-In Tour gig at St. George Theatre in Staten Island on November 2 has been axed … and the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ pulled the plug on her November 3 show.

Both venues posted their decisions to cancel online and will be issuing full refunds to ticket buyers. St. George Theatre says … “Ms. Griffin’s recent actions have severely inhibited our ability to fulfill our mission as a non-profit theatre serving the Staten Island community.” Jersey’s State Theatre also cited safety concerns.

This makes 5 shows officially canceled on Kathy’s tour … Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque nixed her show Wednesday and 2 California venues followed.

Bergen PAC in NJ — the venue for her November 4 show — tells TMZ it’s been flooded by negative calls … but has not made a final decision yet on whether her show will go on.”

Think of the tour cancellations as spillover, the crisis affects other actors associated with the initial crisis.  The venues are receiving complaints and have concerns about security—her crisis risks becoming their crisis.  This is possibly an overreaction but part of crisis management is risk mitigation.  Cancelling a show in this case does reduce risk.  There will be unhappy fans over the cancellations but that is not a security concern and represents the lower risk in this situation.  This is where the modern interpretation of discretion being the better part of valor can be applied.  The weight of public reaction has been to condemn the photos regardless of political affiliation.  Of course this is a matter of interpretation because fans will view it as pandering to a few negative voices.  Managers often have to make decisions that will not appeal to all stakeholders. 

Next up is a press conference, with her lawyer, where Griffin will address bullying by the Trump family.  This seems like a bad idea from a crisis communication perspective.  The chances of making herself into the victim in this situation are slim.  Perhaps there is some longer-term reputation management effort that will be launched from the press conference. It could be designed to prevent future show cancellation by changing the way people view those cancellations.  Or it might be a means of milking the current media coverage. We will have to see what is said and how people react. (I would like to add I have watched her shows and do think she is usually very funny.  The post is about crisis communication, not about her personally).

Questions to Consider

1.  The apology has been presented, what value might there be for crisis communication in the follow-up press conference?

2.  Some researchers have argued that distraction can be a strategy.  What value might distraction have in a celebrity-related crisis such as this one?





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