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Hats off to Antony Worrall-Thompson
HATS off to TV chef Antony Worrall-Thompson – or at least the PR person who has been advising him – for the way he has handled the fall out following his arrest for shoplifting.
In case you missed the story in the papers over the weekend, police arrested the 60-year-old at a Tesco store in Henley-on-Thames last Friday.
Worrall-Thompson was subsequently questioned and given a formal caution for taking what the police described as a number of ‘low value goods’.
He later apologised for his "stupid and irresponsible actions" and released the following statement.
"I am of course devastated for my family and friends, whom I've let down and will seek the treatment that is clearly needed.
"I am not the first, and I certainly won't be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason - what went through my head, only time will tell.
"Of course, I must also apologise sincerely to Tesco, with whom [I've] had a long and genuine working relationship, and to all the staff at the Henley branch, many of whom I've got to know over the years.
"I am so sorry for all my recent stupid and irresponsible actions.
"Hopefully in the future I can make amends."
By holding his hands up and responding quickly with a full and frank apology, Worrall-Thompson may just have limited the damage to his reputation.
Here’s Viva’s top five tips to handling a PR crisis: 1. Don't wait. Many individuals/organisations only get their crisis plans underway once a disaster has struck. Instead, be prepared and have the basic safety mechanisms in place as a point of reference.
2. Recognise the fact a crisis can take many different forms, which all require a tailored but, ultimately, consistent response. Prepare for as many different scenarios as you can in advance.
3. Develop a clear PR communications strategy. It’s vital you take control of the message both internally and externally. Identify a key spokesperson and make sure all key staff are aware of the procedures you plan to implement in a crisis.
Your plan should involve developing press releases, setting up a media hotline, and finding a place where you can have a press conference, if required.
4. Speak to the media. Even if you can’t say much, say something otherwise it looks like you’ve got something to hide. A carefully crafted one-line statement is better than nothing at all in most instances.
5. Provide media training for senior management. They need to be comfortable talking in front of a camera.
Ask your PR company to put on a workshop for key staff. In the event of a crisis, you’ll be glad of the investment.
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