Celebrity Damage Control: Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp Image Rehabilitation
Celebrity Damage Control: Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and the Surprising Truth About Image Rehabilitation
When Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” he wasn’t exaggerating.
This is true whether you’re an A-lister or not famous at all. Being tied to a scandal—even by association or by no fault of your own—has the potential to cause damage both personally and professionally. For celebrities, bad press can kill a career, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. It all depends on the star, the situation and how it’s handled.
Take Brad Pitt, for example: His purported role in the alleged family drama that led to Angelina Jolie filing for divorce stands in stark contrast to his public persona as a devoted dad. Glenn Selig, a crisis management expert and founder of The Publicity Agency, tells E! News that he thinks Pitt’s reputation has definitely “taken a hit” over the course of the past few months, but the damage is “not irreparable.”
“If I were advising him, I wouldn’t tell him to attack [Jolie], but I would say to build himself up,” says Selig. On a personal level, Pitt could “talk about his kids and the types of things he does with them…and the impact this has had on their family.
The actor began the process of building himself back up in front of a wider audience on Sunday—and Pitt certainly seems to have the support of his Hollywood peers.
During his surprise appearance at the 2017 Golden Globes, the father of six was met with uproarious applause from the audience, which included his pal and Oceans Eleven co-star Matt Damon.
Pitt, much like Damon, has made a practice of keeping his personal life private—though he obviously was never as successful at it due to his wildly famous other half. But according to Selig, it could help the actor’s public image if he were to “humanize himself a little bit” and open up more than he’s done in the past.
“I would love to see people get to know him,” says Selig. “You know, they know them [Pitt and Jolie] as a couple, and they know her, but they don’t really know him…I don’t know him, but if I met him and I thought he was a good guy and somebody who I’d want to have a beer with…I would want people to see some of that. Because when you’re likable, that adds a lot; but you can’t be likable as a person if you don’t allow people in.”
Kelly Brady, co-founder and CEO of boutique PR, marketing and branding agency Brandsway Creative, tells E! News it’s important that Pitt continue “to take the high road” when it comes to his split with Jolie. “Be seen with his kids as a great dad,” she adds. “Be seen working hard and wait for the dust to settle..
The high-powered publicist, who also appeared on the 2005 MTV reality series PoweR Girls, agrees that Pitt’s reputation “took a small hit, but it’s nothing he can’t recover from.” Brady also praised the Alliedstar for quietly complying with authorities when he was investigated for alleged child abuse (and subsequently cleared of wrongdoing) following a reported verbal altercation he had with 15-year-old son Maddox aboard a private plane.
“I think he handled it well,” she says. “He knew he did nothing wrong, so he cooperated with the authorities and waited for the facts to emerge.”
Another crisis communications expert, 5W Public Relations founder Ronn Torossian, tells E! News he doesn’t think the Brangelina divorce drama “will have any effect on the reputation of Brad Pitt” in the long run. “I do think,” he adds, “that there’s a…real chance that this has a real effect on the reputation of Ms. Jolie.”