Herman Cain is allowing what should have been a 2 or 3 day news story about sexual harassment allegations to now enter the 4th day of headlines – with no end in sight as we now see allegations of a 3rd accuser emerging. Now entering the 4th day of headlines, we are still unclear on Cain’s response to these questions – but the response we are seeing is him dodging reporters, cameras and questions, and telling the media that he won’t answer questions on this topic in a widely televised clip this morning.
Does Cain think this issue will simply go away and the media won’t ask him more because he’s asking them not to? The longer he waits to take control of these allegations, and avoid the questions the more damage he is doing. The truth will come out and he needs to tell the story, get out in front of the story and tell the truth — exactly what he knows to defuse reporters and take the wind out of their sails. Do it now — this story won’t go away. Tackle it aggressively and do so immediately.
Let’s look at 2 recent crisis PR nightmares involving sexual allegations – also no one accused of a crime:
- Take disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner – who until his “sexting” scandal was regarded as the leading candidate for Mayor of NYC – Had Weiner told the truth from Day 1, the story may have been limited and not exploded. His wife stood by him, he didn’t break any laws and his issue may have passed – rather than the formerly brash outspoken Weiner being broken before our eyes in the media.
- Let’s take the oft-discussed Tiger Woods crisis at face value. He cheated on his wife (unethical but not terribly unusual, some statistics say 50 per cent of married people cheat on their spouses), and was caught in a dramatic scene in late November 2009. He smashed his car on his own property and was treated and released from a local hospital for minor injuries. There’s no video of the car crash, no film of him with any other women, and no felony committed. Big story? Yes, certainly. . . a three- or four-day story, but not likely to become the biggest scandal of the last 10 years or so. The main reason the story lasted so long in the press? The story had legs because Woods waited too long to address the questions and the controversy. (And the mystery continued unanswered.) The story just kept building and simmering.
Sex and powerful people is always a tantalising story. The media and attention simply doesn’t go away because someone wants it to. Herman Cain needs to implement immediately and address the whole truth about this issue – or his campaign and his political career are over.
As the owner of a PR Agency we have worked with many high-profile people, including politicians, celebrities and CEO’s – the story always comes out. Herman Cain must decide before the weekend if he will tell it as a political candidate, or as an afterthought. The time is now, Herman Cain.
Ronn Torossian is the CEO of 5WPR, a Top 25 PR Agency and has a best-selling PR book”For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations” an Amazon best selling Public Relations book available for purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Immediate-Release-Deliver-Game-Changing-Relations/dp/1936661160