Monday, May 3, 2010

Ew. Excuse Me. Looks Like You Might Have Gotten Some Slore on You There...


And therein lies the problem.

Yes, Evan should have seen that coming.

But apparently Johnny didn't.

As we all know--and please forgive me for beating a dead mongoose with maniacal glee--Evan Lysacek made some graceless and uninformed comments about Johnny in an interview with Metromix WTF? Indianapolis last Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Johnny was given an opportunity to respond to those comments on the Wendy Williams show. And by "respond" I mean "be blindsided in front of a live audience by remarks that he should have been informed of the day before so that he could have taken the time to thoughtfully respond in his usual gracious manner with a comment that did not end in the word 'slore.'"

Although I personally agree with his characterization of Evan, who is in fact--in my humble opinion--the USFSA's slore. They whored him out as the super-hetero face of men's figure skating, and he happily went along with it as far as I can tell. If the slur fits ... just sayin'.

But: Up until this point, Johnny has been careful to congratulate Evan repeatedly on Evan's Olympic gold, and has mostly handled the SOI controversy with a matter-of-fact shrug and a "well-they've-never-asked-me-before-so-I-didn't-expect-them-to-now" PR-friendly--and honest--response.

To his credit, he managed a reasonable facsimile of that response on the fly after Wendy read him Evan's words, although he added that he wouldn't skate for SOI now even if they asked him.

But we could see the hurt and anger on his beautiful face.

And then he called Evan a "slore."

Which I'm guessing, based on his tweet later, he might have regretted a little, because it's below his elegantly articulate standard.

I don't blame him at all, though. I have no idea how anyone could expect him to keep his cool upon hearing such ignorant blather from Evan for the first time.

Which is why alert fans started sending e-mails to various places IMMEDIATELY on TUESDAY after Evan's interview hit Johnny's Facebook fan page in an effort to give Johnny a heads-up, particularly since we all knew he was going to be on Wendy's show the next day and we wanted to protect him from exactly what happened.

So watching Johnny get blindsided was doubly painful, because we had tried to prevent it.

And then things got worse.

The story hit a number of sites Thursday, then turned up at People.com Friday with sort-of apologetic remarks from Evan and some comments from Johnny that were helpful in cementing a negative view of Johnny in the minds of clueless people who only know what they read about him in People magazine. And maybe nobody cares what those people think, but still: It does Johnny a disservice.

And now it's everywhere, and Evan's half-assed apology ("Since the Olympics, I've dealt with Johnny's questioning my integrity and sexuality [WTF Evan? IDK what that means. You'd have to actually possess integrity and sexuality in order for it to be questioned. BTW Johnny says Wink-Gate was clever editing to imply something he did not intend], and I've never spoken out on my own behalf no matter how hurtful those things may have been [oh, get over yourself already]. I should have known better." [well, you got THAT part right, anyway]) is being used to try to make him look superior to Johnny, and THAT is annoying all over again.

And the best I can say about all this actually comes from my quiet, perceptive teen son, a deeply devoted Johnny Weir fan. "Wow. Evan and Johnny: You guys are giving interviews like YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING."

And so.

I realize that it's kinda none of my business, when it comes down to it. But on the other hand: I care (a lot). Therefore I blog (at great length).

So please join me out on my precarious limb, won't you, as I offer, ever, ever so softly, with the utmost compassion, respect, and kindness, and absolutely no offense intended to anyone anywhere, that Johnny maybe needs some better PR guidance and protection.

Of course, these things happen. And best not to dwell. And he had a blast at the Kentucky Derby and got great press for his ab fab outfit, so that helps.

But let us gently consider how to prevent ugly from getting all over Johnny in this and future situations, especially when he's wearing something that needs to be dry-cleaned.

This could have been/could be accomplished by:

(1) Getting out ahead of stuff when it happens. Johnny's arriving in the big leagues now. So that means combing the Internet several times a day to see what's the buzz and to identify potential problems, like Evan's interview--or relying on and responding to the alert fans who do so, because we are RABID, man, frothing at the mouth day and night as we troll for tidbits about Johnny, and we are ON this stuff ASAP because we love him that much.

(I realize that fan e-mails probably come in bombardments. Perhaps it would help if there was a designated "head fan" or "fan ambassador" as the primary point of contact. He or she could sift through fan e-mails and forward the urgent ones ASAP to wherever they need to go so that they don't get lost in a sea of "I-love-
Johnny-so-much-can-I-have-his-cell-phone-number?" missives ...)

The point is for Johnny to know about stuff as soon as it hits, so that he has time to formulate a response that best reflects who he is as a person. Or he might decide, after having a chance to think it over, not to even dignify something with a response.

(2) Making sure that Johnny was prepared with his chosen response before he even walked into the studio last Wednesday. Wendy also could have been asked not to bring it up. If she didn't comply, at least he would have been ready.

(3) Also making sure that Johnny's response moved him forward, up onto the high road, and away from Evan's verborrhea, so that Evan would be left standing there forlorn and alone next to the steaming pile of sh*t that is his career the ugly hot mess he just made.

(4) Recognizing that the power is always in the present moment. It's never too late for Johnny to take charge by putting #3 above into action.

Johnny: "Evan's comments caught me off-guard, and I apologize that I wasn't at my best in my responses to his interview. We have a long history together as competitors, and the media has often tried to goad us into making more out of our 'rivalry' than there really is. Of course I wish Evan every success, and I hope that we can both put any pettiness behind us and move forward, me continuing my rocket ride to worldwide adoration and dazzling achievement, Evan pursuing his downward spiral to desperation and utter obscurity."

Or, you know, something like that.

Unless Johnny doesn't really give a sh*t at this point. Which I could totally understand.

But in case he's having second thoughts about all the headlines that say he's declared war on Evan, here's an important point: No matter what, please avoid the phrase, "I misspoke." It's just meaningless, or, more precisely, f*cking stupid.

The key to PR that works is to always control the message. Don't let it control you. And don't let it get away from you or take you places you normally wouldn't go.

And when in doubt, there's always that time-honored favorite: "No comment."

Interestingly, the Facebook fans were able to share differing opinions on this with respect and humor. Some disagreed that this was any big deal, essentially saying, "Johnny's a big boy. He can take care of himself."

Yes, he is, and he can.

But I think we can use all the help we can get in life. And it seemed like he didn't get any on this one.

Just FYI: I'm not talking about being "image-conscious." It's not about Johnny's "image." "Image" suggests a falsity, a carefully crafted construct that may or may not bear any resemblance to the real person hidden somewhere inside. That's not Johnny.

Johnny is all about real. He's just--Johnny. It's one of the things we uber-stans love most about him. He's real, and he helps us remember that it's good and right and fiercely fabulous for us to be real, too.

The real Johnny got hit hard there for a minute, in my opinion, and it threw him off balance.

And he should never have been put in that position. And if there's anything we fans can do to help prevent that from ever happening again, we are on it like five minutes ago.

Of course, it could have been worse. Evan should be grateful he escaped with just a hand-lettered cardboard sign taped to his back that reads, "Slore."

Because Johnny could have called him a f*cktard.

Like everyone else was thinking.


Please keep voting for Johnny
as "Most Addictive Reality Star"
in the NewNowNext Awards! Vote here
(he's the last one listed in the fifth category--scroll down!)
or on Twitter by constantly tweeting #realityWEIR.
Voting ends June 4, which gives us plenty of time
to get Johnny oh, say, ONE MILLION votes!

*Special thanks to Facebook fans Jessica Lane
for this helpful observation,
to Ashley OMG I DIE Taylor for the term "uber-stan,"
and to Gabriela Cabrales
for her fabulous "slore" macro!
copyright 2010 / Binky and the Misfit Mimes / Lynn V. Ingogly / all rights reserved

28 comments:

laura linger said...

This is all the more true when you consider how Johnny Fans are. We are a loving and devoted bunch who are also very protective of our shiny little unicorn. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, gets past us. It was so upsetting that JW had no heads up about the Evan comments. Disgraceful, actually. I wrote a very critical column of JW's response with the assumption that he knew all about it when he went on Wendy Williams. When I learned that WW was the bearer of the bad news, I immediately pulled my column.

BSonTwit said...

love this! I have been thinking the same thing, i couldnt believe WW read that quote to him like she did on live tv. Evan has received a few nicely worded tweets from me,hope he read one...I also have been wondering if there is a JW fanclub here in America, he needs one, a place we can find out his appearances easier,etc. i can help on the east coast ny news side.

Anonymous said...

"Snore"...he meant to call him a "Snore!"

Mimsie said...

Once again Binky you have hit the nail on the head! We do care (A LOT)!!! And I think there are minions of us that love and genuinely care for Johnny in a very protective way! I agree that he did look pained and in discussing with another FB fan(and now BFF)we talked about that very thing. Not filtering him but watching his back. He has gotten soooooo big, so fast, that his PR needs have grown as well. I don't want him to change a bit as none of us do but do want him to be protected more from that kind of thing. Now on the other hand, EVERYONE KNOWS WHO HE IS NOW, so that may also work to his benefit. He is such a positive inspiration to so many of us and really has impacted the lives of so many of us as well that we just wish him the best of life!

Thank you again Binky for an outstanding morning read! You Rock Girl!!!!! Keep us posted!

Wendy said...

I believe Johnny first heard of Evan's remark backstage, giving him just enough time to begin to seethe. It's hard to react well to a hit below the belt. Yes, Johnny has always spoken his mind, but I think he has gotten better about measuring his remarks to media, and this was a knee-jerk reaction.

It's the kind of comment that is better left unsaid when you're speaking through the megaphone of a nationally televised talk show. The media likes to package bite-sized stories, and name calling just gives reporters the opportunity to paint Johnny as the backbiting, less intelligent one. Which he most certainly is not. I'm convinced Evan, left to his own devices, couldn't talk his way out of a paper bag.

I want this story to stop circulating because I'm irritated every time the media repeats Evan's original, inaccurate statement. And because Evan is just, well... zzzzz. He is a giant snoozefest, and bringing Johnny onto the mat is the only reason he's getting all this press. I'm totally annoyed that he's getting so much play out of this. But hey -- for all I know, Johnny is happy about all the extra press, too.

Really, Johnny should have just ReTweeted this classic. I know I did:
http://twitter.com/KhloeKardashian/status/7152441524

(Love you, Mama Monster!)

aaaack said...

Part of Johnny's "brand" is the freedom to be spontaneous and unfiltered. Gaffes are an accepted part of his territory, making him stand out in a PR-managed world.

Nonetheless, the wisdom to self-edit is a good and expected thing. All the folks at the top of their game practice self-editing...it's a noblesse oblige kind of thing.

dudetteinbrownsweater said...

"make love not war except maybe not with Evan" = can that be a bumper sticker please?

It's easy for some of us, at least, to ignore that pest whenever he opens his mouth and just pretend we hear and see no evil. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like, however, to be in Johnny's position and constantly deal with Evan's words in a more personal manner. Even the best of us would crack, and that includes all those people out there in a cyber-net bashing Johnny right now. It's easy for them to type out how "childish" and "arrogant" Johnny is, but it would not be easy for them to be thrust into the same situation. Aiyaiyai.

Nico said...

When I think of our beloved Johnny and his approach to PR, I'm most often reminded of Muhammad Ali, who used a rarefied mix of bravado, charm and humor to steel his fans' undying admiration and whip his foes into tongue-tied submission. He was deliciously arrogant and eloquent. And in a world that had previously required only fist-on-fist action, he brought the will of his words. And he declared fair game the verbal magnification of attributes and politics outside of one's conduct inside a ring.

Some examples:
-- I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.
-- If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize.
-- Frazier is so ugly that he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wild Life.
-- I know where I'm going and I know the truth, and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want.

Ali knew he was special, he knew he was beautiful and he knew he was destined to be a champion. And he was smart enough to bring all of us along for the ride. He's Johnny's predecessor, minus a horribly biased figure skating system. (But, notice how Johnny calls them to the mat, every time).

I don't want this comment to be any longer than it needs to be. I adore that Johnny declared war on Evan and called him a slore, even it it pains him for a while. When I think of what he did, I think of this Ali quote:
-- My way of joking is to tell the truth. That's the funniest joke in the world.

And when I think of how Johnny should regard any annoying rival as he continues his ascendancy to greatness, I think of this final piece of advice, from one champion to another:
-- It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe.
Muhammad Ali

Much love oxoxox

Maggie St. said...

"I am not worthy!"
I bow down to you Ms. Binky.

Inspiring blog! Great ideas on moving everyone forward and not dwelling too much in the past. Unless, of course, it's to savor Evan's "downward spiral to desperation and utter obscurity". *evil giggle*

Anonymous said...

"me continuing my rocket ride to worldwide adoration and dazzling achievement, Evan pursuing his downward spiral to desperation and utter obscurity."

um, YEAH!!

it was so painful to watch Johnny hear that comment for the first time on live tv. i completely agree with you, dear Misfit, more care needs to be taken so he's not ambushed again.

our boy is becoming a Superstar and needs more protection than just big burly bodyguards . . . so he can be as free and Johnny-esque as possible.

thanks for saying this!

Robin aka Princess Johnny-Love

Anonymous said...

Binky,

It would be wonderful if someone could help give a heads up in the PR department. But I am unsure as to whether Johnny would even want or feel the need for this. There have been so many years of our precious skater "saying what's on the top of his head and the tip of his tongue" - a comment of his brother Boz. And I know we would never want to see Johnny wooden and rehearsed in his answers.

Most definitely, Johnny is much more mainstream than he has ever been before. He is loving the media attention and probably also feeling the pain of it. But he is most definitely one very smart cookie and I am sure he is thinking it all out.

TK

Anonymous said...

Better selection of media and message would help him if he is trying to get sponsors for a show that will require sponsorship dollars. I am afraid that the recent slore wars will keep sponsors at a distance since there has been a lot of press and potential sponsors need to be thinking about creating positive associations with their brands. Companies like American Express are dishing out big dollars to sponsor Cirque du Soleil, Virgin Mobile are sponsoring the Lady Gaga Tour, and Coke is sponsoring Evan, these companies might be reluctant to sponsor someone if they are not sure what will come out of his mouth next. Johnny is very articualte but also wears his heart and emotions on his sleeve for all to see, the beautiful and the ugly, sure that's what we love about him that, but now that he is looking for sponsorship dollars these kind of companies have their own brand image they need to manage, and for those companies, they don't want the ugly part associated with their brand, what just happened would be a nightmare for them as well.

Li Mann said...

Great blog as always Binky. Don't want to repeat my comment from FB so I'll just say we are in agreement that Johnny should be protected, and we fans will have to step it up a little when we can.

thebron-79 said...

Hi Binky - YES to all of this... I think, in the end, although I wish they'd both just STOP IT, I decided I don't really care about the Slore War because at least this is *still* about their sport, unlike so many other athletes that garner bad press whose antics have nothing to do with their sports (Woods, Bryant, Roethlisberger, etc).

Anonymous said...

Personally, I love when Johnny comes out with what he's really thinking. The whole point of the "slore" comment is that Evan will say whatever the Powers That Be want him to, and Johnny doesn't play that. Sometimes, you get the hard cold truth (or at least a little invective) when you aren't trying to kiss up to the judges or the sponsors 24/7. Please don't water Johnny down with "management." I want the original, true and uncensored Johnny, even if it means he pisses people off sometimes.

People love Johnny anyway, and the sponsors will see that. As long as they're not homophobic douchebags like Smuckers.

Misfit Mimes said...

TY all for the comments. Of course no one should censor Johnny--except Johnny. But there's a difference between censoring yourself and taking the time to choose what you really want to say. With greater fame comes greater responsibility. It takes maturity and a really great PR team to help make sure that you are always true to yourself while still choosing to take the high road. It can be done. Case in point: Sandra Bullock, IMO. Also IMO, Johnny handled this as best he could under the circumstances, as always. The point is, he should never have been placed in those circumstances to begin with.

But he's making all kinds of new news today with fabulous photos of him at the Derby getting lots of coverage, and the announcement that he wants to sing at the VMAs (http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20365915,00.html), so yay!

germansoulmate said...

I also won´t repeat what I said on FB.

It coincides with general opinions in here anyway.

I just want to thank Binky for thinking out and writing it down what a lot of us think yet are not able to put it that eloquently.
Well done again, Binky and Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Finally! This so had to be said publicly, consequences be damned. Many, many people have been having this conversation behind the scenes for quite some time now. I am glad to see this problem of not handling and mishandling Johnny's PR and appearances enter the mainstream conversation because I hope this will bring change. Change can't happen until the problem is acknowledged. Thank you for writing this as gently as possible without watering down the message. I hope it is taken as intended, serious advice.


PS: On a personal note, based on my experience in TV PR...
The fact that Johnny wasn't informed of Evan's comments within minutes - and I mean minutes - of the interview hitting the interweb is a scandal. The Wendy interview was wasted on Evan's comments instead of boosting Johnny's upcoming song recording and charity appearances. Johnny handled it as well as anyone could expect under the circumstances, including his follow up tweet. Sadly, this episode is just the latest in a long, inexplicable string of mistakes that put Johnny into less than desirable public positions way too often. Johnny deserves much better. I would go further than Binky in my advice. A PR expert, or agent with PR expertise, is required on Johnny's team, in addition to an intern tasked with keeping *realtime* tabs on Johnny-related mentions in the press and interweb.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that I'm really glad an intelligent conversation is taking place about this. Thank you for writing about this topic. Some of the comments made are very spot on.

@Nico- I never equated Johnny with Ali, but you've convinced me. Really nice post!

@Anonymous 11.09a- Maybe the single most important reason to consider the importance and impact of PR!

As Johnny himself says, make something beautiful out of the ugly. A good PR strategy emerging out of the existing PR mess would transform all the mistakes made into "learning experiences". :)

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 1.16pm-

A good PR expert can media train Johnny and fashion a PR strategy that enhances Johnny's natural strengths, including his spontaneity and "wilder" remarks. It is not always the best move to squash a unique personality like Johnny's, especially when it's an appealing hallmark of the client. If someone tries to box him in, shape him into a fake package, it would backfire. Any PR expert knows this and knows how to help Johnny be himself in the best way possible as part of an overarching PR strategy to achieve his goals. That's the point of PR.

Johnny is intelligent, quick-witted, savvy, well-behaved, with instinctive humor. He's also a fun challenge. There are PR experts who would consider him a dream client.

Remember, Johnny is tame (he's not trashing hotel rooms, or worse) and very smart compared to some characters in the acting and music industries. If you don't realize that, it's because those "wild children" have very good PR people, managers, and agents.

Anonymous said...

MM - ever graceful and diplomatic. It was hard to watch his face tense ever so slightly when wendy read the stupidity that came out of the mouth of that appallingly lackluster orange goose. In truth, I applaud johnny for refraining from using the F word beginning, middle and end. which is what i would have done. which is why i dont blog - salome

aaaack said...

A quick analysis of Johnny's handwriting says that he is very self-editing (especially in the area total kindness to fans), and can and does keep many secrets (a mental lock box requiring mental ju jitsu in private areas). The sheer, nervy complexity of Johnny makes for some of our fascination for him.

Misfit Mimes said...

There are some additional comments that came in that are excellent, but that I need to present in slightly edited form in the interests of the blog's foundation of grace and diplomacy. I hope the writers will understand.

First comment comes from Pauline, who writes:

"THIS SO MUCH. I was insanely upset about how blindsided he was. Honestly ... at least ... let him know what is going on in the media ... so he knows what questions to expect, or better yet, stop letting him get asked questions about evan entirely! He must be so annoyed by them at this point."

Misfit Mimes said...

From Gaby:

"Right on!

"[Johnny's people] ... [need] to know things before Johnny ... [that's why you have] a staff to do that. If I can have google alerts so [can anyone else], simple as that. Once [his people] know it, [they] can warn [Johnny] and do what needs to be done. In conclusion, he needs a PR person ... Otherwise, imagine the press conferences when his book comes out."

Lord, yes. I shudder to think. Although then I laugh...

Misfit Mimes said...

And from Anonymous:

"I think you're right about many things in this blog Binky, but there is one thing I'm certain that you are right about: his need for a PR team. Like you said, it's all about controlling the message. He doesn't need to be censored at all, but he does need to be afforded the opportunity to speak in a way that is flattering to himself so that he doesn't come off looking like the buffoon that is Lysacek. ..."

Wendy said...

Me again. I think he *does* have someone handling media, to some degree. I've read uber-publicist Howard Bragman is on the payroll -- true? So perhaps there's a little helpful push getting more favorable reports out there, like People's VMA follow-up.

And FWIW, HBrag says rule #1 is "All press isn't good press. That's the biggest myth of my profession." http://bit.ly/6Qrx8

xoxo

Misfit Mimes said...

Wendy, I don't know about Howard Bragman's involvement with Johnny's people, if any--but I could not agree with him more about the myth of "all press is good press." He is SO right.

WheresMyKoppy said...

http://wheresmykoppy.blogspot.com/2010/05/of-johnny-weir-and-pr-and-long.html

I only read this blog late Sunday night, and once I realized how long-winded my response was getting I decided to just write my blog about it instead.