Ryan Lochte and his camp are bringing in the big guns to help overcome all of this drama in the media, and they knew who to go to.
E! News has learned that the US Olympian swimmer, who has been knee-deep in international troubles following an alleged robbery in Rio during the Olympics, has sought out a crisis manager to take the lead in handling the aftermath on this matter, and it just so happens to be the former crisis manager of none other than Justin Bieber.
Unless you’ve hidden away in a cave for the last few years, then you’re at least a little familiar with the roller coaster ride Bieber’s career has been on. It’s no secret that the young singer has definitely had his WTF is he thinking? moments, but has always managed to come out of it fairly unscathed.
And for that reason, let’s take a look back so we can learn from Bieber’s mistakes, shall we? Lochte, pay attention.
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1. Avoid Public Meltdowns: Let us not forget the time Biebs managed to have two public meltdowns—storming offstage and later cutting a televised performance short—all within a few days. Bieber quickly blamed the setback on a “rough week,” adding, “I don’t always handle things the right way but I’m human and I’m working on getting better at responding not reacting.”
2. Lock Away Nudie Pics: Yesterday’s Instagram fiasco may have ended up being a fake photo, but that wasn’t the first time we’d seen Bieber in the buff. Remember when a number of leaked vacation pics that left little to the imagination (as in, the Internet saw Bieber’s completely naked bod) surfaced on the Internet? Surprisingly, Bieber remained calm and composed throughout the ordeal, and that was the right thing to do.
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3. Keep Your Private Life Private: It’s obviously very difficulty to remain private when you’re in the spotlight, but try to maintain as much privacy as possible (read: don’t air your dirty laundry on social media). We all get a case of Twitter fingers when things get hot with certain people (and for Bieber, it’s usually his ex Selena Gomez), but if the singer’s recent public fallout with his former girlfriend proved anything, it’s to keep those conversations off the Internet.
4. Try to Stay Out of Legal Trouble: Lochte already got a taste of this in Brazil, but Bieber has been through the wringer when it comes to the law. He’s doing better now, but there was a time when he faced a DUI arrest and vandalism allegations, which only added more chaos to his already tumultuous career.
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Furthermore, Jonathan Bernstein, President of Bernstein Crisis Management and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay & Manager’s Guide to Crisis Management, offered some insight to E! News as to what Lochte could do to repair his image following recent events.
“Something like him donating to a Brazilian charity would be a great way to start fixing his image. Ryan will be asked about this for a while. He will need to continue to come across as very humble and remorseful. He can be quoted wherever he goes and for a while.”
He continued, “For example, if he says anything in a text with a friend about it or at if he’s at a party talking about it with someone. Anything that he does will stir up controversy again so he needs to be careful. Also, he needs to be consistent in his message going forward. If he sticks to that, it will go away. They are quick to forgive, so if he doesn’t want to be characterized as a ‘character risk’ then he needs to clean up his act and make sure he doesn’t get himself into anymore trouble for a long time.”
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Lochte released a lengthy public apology on the whole ordeal earlier today.
“I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend—for not being more careful and candid in how I described the events of that early morning and for my role in taking the focus away from the many athletes fulfilling their dreams of participating in the Olympics,” he said in a statement shared on social media Friday morning.
As for why he hadn’t spoken publicly sooner, “I waited to share these thoughts until it was confirmed that the legal situation was addressed and it was clear that my teammates would be arriving home safely,” he penned.
“It’s traumatic to be out late with your friends in a foreign country—with a language barrier—and have a stranger point a gun at you and demand money to let you leave, but regardless of the behavior of anyone else that night, I should have been much more responsible in how I handled myself and for that am sorry to my teammates, my fans, my fellow competitors, my sponsors and the hosts of this great event,” he continued. “I am very proud to represent my country in Olympic competition and this was a situation that could and should have been avoided. I accept responsibility for my role in this happening and have learned from valuable lessons.”
“I am grateful for my USA Swimming teammates and the USOC, and appreciate all of the efforts of the IOC, the Rio ’16 Host Committee, and the people of Brazil who welcomed us to Rio and worked so hard to make sure that these Olympic Games provided a lifetime of great new memories,” the statement concluded. “There has alredy been too much said and too many valuale resources dedicated to what happened last weekend, so I hope we spend our time celebrating the great stories and performances of these Games and look ahead to celebrating future successes.”