Showing posts with label Elliot Mintz. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elliot Mintz. Show all posts

Friday, June 8

Bailing Paris: Sheriff Lee Baca

Sometimes when you win, you really lose. At least that seems to be the theme for Paris Hilton, who was released from jail yesterday for a mysterious mental medical condition. She was released after serving three days of a 23-day sentence.

With more public outcry than most mass murderers, media and concerned citizens made her the poster child for "buying freedom." Suddenly, without warning, the publicity beast she has gracefully embraced for more than a decade turned to bite her back.

The decision to free Hilton prompted attorney L.A. city attorney Rocky Delgadillo to file a petition questioning whether Sheriff Lee Baca should be held in contempt of court for releasing Hilton, led to media coverage that largely mocked the Hilton heiress, and convinced Rev. Al Sharpton to organize a march protest. Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer then ordered Hilton to report to court today at 9 a.m.

"There are any number of cases of people who handled being incarcerated badly and even have health conditions that are not released," Sharpton told The Associated Press. "But I think that it gives a very bad signal when Ms. Hilton is treated any differently than any other parole violator in their county or in this country."

While I have a hard time believing this a blatant case of racism (maybe), I do lean toward the John Gibson take: "Was it because she's white? Maybe just a bit, but more likely it happened because she's rich and her parents can make lawyers and shrinks work round the clock to move mountains."

For my part, I'm less interested in what is really non-news and more interested in the publicity beast that once appeared to be tamed by Hilton. As hard as it might be for some people to see it, she may have been happy to be released, but she did not do the bailing. Sheriff Baca did that. (As if the Los Angeles County Police Department didn't have enough public relations problems.)

No matter, it seems. Most people want to have the privileged head of Hilton, regardless of her role in the release. She may have had a hand in it or not. If she did, she did herself a great disservice.

Hilton's sometimes odd popularity was always fueled by her ability to woo a majority of the public (not the media, the public), which is why people petitioned for her not to go to jail in the first place.

The result of her release, however, unless publicist Elliot Mintz can master some major spin (he often does), could erode her credibility to the point where her brand of being strangely famous forever turns into unpleasantly infamous. It will be interesting to see who remains a friend after the popularity polls begin to dip over trying to bilk the system (whether she had a direct hand in it or not).

Ah publicity ... sure you can use it to be released from jail early, but this get out of jail card is not like Monoply. It's almost never given for free.


Tuesday, May 8

Laying Blame: Paris Hilton

When in doubt, fire the publicist (and then rehire them later). At least, that is what Paris Hilton might have us believe.

It was also the original thrust of her message when spoke publicly for the first time after being sentenced to 45 days in jail. At the hearing, Hilton said publicist Elliot Mintz told her she was permitted to drive for work-related reasons after the first 30 days of her license suspension. She also said she was unaware her driving privileges had been completely suspended.

"I told the truth," the heiress told photographers waiting outside her Los Angeles home on Saturday night. "I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted. I don't deserve this."

Hilton’s lawyer, Howard Weitzman, has planned an appeal in order "to modify the sentence." Weitzman said his client has been singled out and the punishment doesn't fit the crime. He's also the guy that Hilton should have turned to for legal advice regarding her driving privileges.

Although Mintz corroborated Hilton's story, offering "my sincerest apology for any misunderstanding she received from me regarding the terms of her probation," one wonders what degree of responsibility Hilton will accept. Perhaps it also draws the distinction between handlers and trusted advisors in the field of public relations.

Handlers are people who call the shots, sometimes trumping the judgment of their clients. Trusted advisors are more interested in helping clients work through decisions as they relate to public perception. The difference is subtle, but important.

Had Mintz acted as the trusted advisor, he might have suggested Hilton ask Weitzman about the terms of her probation, while suggesting that any infractions while driving could damage her credibility. Driving without lights certainly qualifies. But then again, that assumes the original story wasn't a spin.

Yesterday, Mintz told Us Weekly that, despite confirming the split himself in a statement over the weekend, “the rumors of our professional separation were over-exaggerated." Um, yeah, by Mintz.

What did Seth Godin say recently about going too far? In sum, if the second story doesn't hold up, the first story might be scrutinized even more. Very right.


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