You have to be living on another planet to have missed the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. I have no idea if he’s guilty or not, but there are classic crisis management lessons to be learned from his media blunders:
- Bill Cosby is a classic case of how NOT to handle the media during times of crisis. Instead of delivering a statement and addressing the accusations, when asked about it on NPR radio, he remained silent and refused to answer. Perhaps his lawyer told him to shut up, but this type of behavior can send signals that you have something to hide.
- In an earlier interview with the Associated Press, when questioned about the allegations, he also refused to discuss it. Then, while the microphone was still on, he asked the reporter not to share that portion of the interview. Cosby then tried to turn the tables on the reporter, questioning AP’s integrity. Blaming others or trying to exert pressure on the media is not a good strategy. For someone who has been interviewed so often, Cosby should also know that the microphone is always on.
- Finally, the media has a job to do whether you like it or not. If you agree to an interview, you must be prepared for all questions, not just the ones you want to answer. You don’t get to pick questions, edit answers or determine what news is or is not.
Perhaps Cosby is used to being in charge but media interviews are not sitcoms, Netflix episodes or stand-up comic performances that he gets to approve. If you want to control the message, then have one.