The year 2016 was one of political unrest, distrust of the media, race-related protests, and the death of some of our favorite Hollywood stars. Not surprisingly, all around the world 2016 got a pretty bad rep as one of the worst years ever.
As the year wore on, many wondered:
Could it possibly get any worse?
For Mariah Carey – yes it did.
The singer closed out the old year and rang in the new with a PR scandal no one wants responsibility for. Mariah’s PR agent quickly blamed the production company; and the producer who worked at the event pointed fingers right back at them.
So what happened exactly? No one knows for sure, but here’s the story as we’ve seen it in the media.
New Year Meltdown
On New Years’ Eve, Mariah Carey was scheduled to perform on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest in Times Square.
Her three-song lineup started with Auld Lang Syne with the usual promise of success. But by her second song, the performance took a surprising turn.
As Emotions began, Carey tried to let her team know something was wrong. “We can’t hear,” she told them.
ABC quickly cut to shots of the Times Square crowd as Ms. Carey tried to perform some of her choreography. She continued suggesting fixes from the stage, and at one point seemed to defend herself.
“I’m trying to be a good sport here,” she said.
When the number ended, the crowd cheered her on. “That was — ” she said, pausing for effect, “amazing.”
During We Belong Together there was another alleged malfunction, causing her to stop singing altogether. Unfortunately for Carey, the track continued to play; prompting allegations that she planned to lip sync through the performance.
Additional reports claim Carey skipped rehearsals and was likely not prepared for the show at all.
The PR Rep
She was not ‘winging’ this moment and took it very seriously… A shame that production set her up to fail.
The rep says Carey alerted production and the stage managers that her ear piece was not working.
“They told her it would be fine once she was on stage,” she says. “However, that was not the case and they were again told that her ear piece was not working. Instead of endeavoring to fix the issue so that Mariah could perform, they went live.”
The rep also insisted that Carey had no intention of lip syncing, and that any such allegations was just “adding insult to injury”.
The Production Company
The producer, Robert Goldstein, insists that there were no malfunctions with the equipment he oversaw.
Goldstein is a veteran producer with Maryland Sound International, a company that has worked on the event for several years.
Every monitor and in-ear device worked perfectly… I can’t comment beyond that and don’t know what her nontechnical issue may have been.
Mariah herself took to social media to comment on the issue. After displaying admirable patience on stage, the songstress was not above making fun of herself when she tweeted (EXPLICIT):
The Broadcasting Company
ABC declined to comment on the incident.
It may take some time for the truth to come out, and perhaps it never will. Here’s what we do know.
The blame game is a dangerous one to play in business; especially in public relations, and the entertainment industry.
One PR expert, Randi Minetor, said of the practice in her book, How to Start a Home-Based Public Relations Firm:
If you hire a vendor and that vendor delivers substandard work, blaming the vendor will not get you out of a sticky situation… [D]on’t point fingers.
In essence, both sides scrambled to protect their reputation by diverting blame to another party, but may have only damaged their working relationship for future projects.
The better PR approach would have been to acknowledge that something clearly went wrong, but withhold any further commentary until the network and the parties involved could decipher what that problem really was.
A clear, cohesive message from all parties involved would have helped to squash rumors more quickly. Since this wasn’t done, social media will do what it does best: troll and invent worst-case scenario conspiracy theories.
Carey’s approach, however, was commendable. Whether she truly skipped her rehearsals or planned to lip sync, she did carry herself more professionally on stage than many would have in her position.
Her social media post also cut to the very heart of her frustration without throwing blame at anyone’s feet.
Here’s to making more headlines in 2017, indeed!
If you’re interested in hiring our team to help your brand through its own PR crisis, email us for a quote at firstname.lastname@example.org.