Truly astonishing video captures media relations gaffe
We revisit a viral video in which a PR professional told a reporter 27 times not to touch him.
Don’t touch reporters. Especially when they ask you not to—27 times.
In May 2010, a media spokesperson created a viral video by responding to a reporter’s questions by repeatedly touching him.
According to SF Weekly
this clip came about when San Francisco ABC 7 reporter Dan Noyes was
investigating “alleged misuse of money meant to help ailing patients at
Laguna Honda Hospital instead of paying for gourmet perks for
Marc Slavin, the hospital’s communications director, is the person
you’ll see in the video below. I guess you could say his response was
“touching,” though not in the good way. This video is truly astonishing.
Shortly afterwards, Slavin responded to an inquiry about the incident from SF Weekly
. Not only did he fail to apologize, but also he actually blamed the reporter for the incident:
“I don’t have much interest in rehashing the exchange with Mr. Noyes. He
was intent on disrupting a public meeting rather than scheduling an
interview. Even when we did sit down to speak he summarily disregarded
our very straightforward presentation of the facts regarding the gift
fund accounts. (I’d be happy to send those facts to you as an attachment
if you supply your email, or you can find them on lagunahonda.org.)
“Mr. Noyes’ disregard for the facts—the clear legality and appropriate
use of the funds—resulted in an unfortunate report on the air, which
obviously supplied more ‘gotcha’ drama than any legitimate examination
of hospital practices. I understand we’re not the first target of Mr.
Noyes’ bullying tactics, and likely won’t be the last.”
Perhaps Slavin is right on the facts. But he ceded every inch of the
high ground he could have occupied by responding in such an aggressive,
off-putting, and strange manner.
The incident didn’t seem to have much impact. Slavin
is still employed as the hospital’s communications director.
To see five other classic clips, visit the Mr. Media Training blog.