Last month Chris Brown dispensed with the services of his publicist, Tammy Brook, a few days after his outlandish behaviour at the Good Morning America show. The singer smashed a window, trashed his GMA dressing room and left the show shirtless after being questioned about his disastrous relationship with his former girlfriend, Rihanna. I am sure many readers are familiar with that particular Brown PR debacle - beating Rihanna and consequently being subjected to court-ordered community service. Brown’s split with his publicist following the calamitous GMA appearance highlights the need for good crisis management in the rap industry and suggests that Tammy Brook was not quite up to par in this regard.
As a publicist, it is important to prepare both the interviewer and your client in the build up to an interview. The fact that GMA host, Robin Roberts, repeatedly asked Brown about his relationship with Rihanna indicates that Tammy Brooks had failed to rule that subject out of bounds for the interview. I think it is critical to have a firm grasp of the different channels of communication when working within the field of public relations, with crisis management near the top of the list. Chris Brown went into the interview believing it would focus on his new album, F.A.M.E. Instead, because he was poorly prepared for the questions that arose concerning his personal life, the interview resulted in the star leaving the show ill-tempered and highly frustrated. Perhaps GMA was told not to address the Rihanna issue, but did so anyway. Is it wrong for them to ask topical questions that would undoubtedly have been on the viewers’ minds?
In the wake of the show, an ABC spokesperson said “As always, we ask questions that are relevant and newsworthy, and that’s what we did in this interview with Mr. Brown.” Chris Brown was clearly not prepared for these hard-hitting questions and as a result further damaged his reputation by getting upset and venting his anger on his surroundings. Regardless of the ground rules for the interview, I believe that Brown should have been prepared, if only on a contingency basis, to expect at least a question or two about the Rihanna incident. It may have been wrong for GMA to ask such frustrating questions but, in my opinion, if Brown’s publicist had anticipated and prepared more thoroughly for this situation, this particular crisis need never have arisen. Do you think Tammy Brook could have done better on her client’s behalf in preventing, or at least managing, this crisis?