Category: Reputation Advice

Aug 1, 2018

Quoted in the The AJC: “Marvel stars want James Gunn rehired despite his vile tweets”

The AJC reached to get my thoughts on whether Marvel director James Gunn was rightly fired for Tweets he sent out years ago?

Here are my full thoughts on the topic.

While the statute of limitations may protect someone from criminal prosecution, such protection does not apply to the court of public opinion.

Your online reputation is always the sum of all of your actions, past and present. In addition, it is the sum of the sincerity of your apology, past and present.

Tweets that were posted when you were younger or embracing a different personality, should still have been accompanied by a sincere apology. If they were merely brushed off or buried, then you could still be held accountable should you later become more famous.

The key is to show humility, demonstrate sincerity, and apologize quickly whenever you make a mistake, otherwise, it could come back to haunt you.

The article can be read here.

Jan 2, 2017

Quoted in The Guardian: Celebrities should be selective, but not embellish

The Guardian newspaper looks at the new rules for celebrities in this social media age. I chimed in with this tip:

Get your story straight

In a world where celebrities control their own narratives, But some celebrities are simply better digital storytellers than others. “It’s important to be transparent in your words,” suggests Andy Beal, an online reputation consultant. “That doesn’t mean you can’t be selective with what you share – the danger is when you manipulate or embellish the truth.”

Sep 9, 2016

Wells Fargo fires 5,300 and takes a huge reputation hit after incentivizing profits over customers

Generally when a company fires someone for scamming its customers, so he or she can make their quota, you place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the rogue employee.

However, when it transpires that you’ve had to fire 5,300 over the last few years, you start to ask about the culture that employer has created. You don’t just make five thousand bad hiring decisions. That’s the question hanging over the head of Wells Fargo as we learn:

…it had fired 5,300 employees over the last few years related to the shady behavior. Employees went so far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.


So that employees could meet goals set by the bank. They did so by:

  • Opening deposit accounts and transferring funds without authorization, sometimes resulting in insufficient funds fees.
  • Applying for credit-card accounts without consumers’ knowledge or consent, leading to annual fees, as well as associated finance or interest charges and other late fees for some consumers.
  • Issuing and activating debit cards, going so far as to create PINs, without consent.
  • Creating phony email addresses to enroll consumers in online-banking services.

Does it get any more shady than that? I don’t think so.

Wells Fargo was hit with one of the largest fines in banking history and now has to not only pay back the effected customers, but spend millions convincing its other customers that it can still be trusted to manage their money.

Your employees are your reputation. And, when you create working conditions or set incentives that tempt them to cut corners or stoop to illicit behavior no one wins. Customers are robbed, employees are fired, and you’re left with a hit to your profits and reputation. Keep that in mind, the next time you think about implementing a new way to incentivize employees. Might I suggest one that focuses on the satisfaction of your customers instead of the bottom line.

Keep your customers happy and they’ll open the new accounts….for real. 😉

Aug 17, 2016

Gabby Douglas’ & Hope Solo’s reputations will be just fine. Just ask Michael Phelps.

Watching the Olympics offers a fascinating glimpse of the fickle nature of reputation management for the athletes we adore and admire.


Both Hope Solo and Gabby Douglas have faced a reputation faux pas during the 2016 Summer Games. For Solo, it was her comments about the Swedish soccer team being “cowards” for how they played their win over Team USA. Douglas has come under fire for he apparent apathy towards the success of her teammates and lack of respect for the US national anthem. Yet, both can take comfort in the lesson we can learn from one of the biggest reputation missteps in modern Olympic history: Micheal Phelps.

Michael Phelps is once again the golden boy of the Olympics, yet just a few years ago his reputation looked all dried up thanks to an image of him smoking a bong.I even naively wrote about the damage to his squeaky clean reputation.

Phelps proved us all wrong.

Why? Why was Phelps able to completely recover from his reputation scandal and become so beloved by hundreds of millions?

The answer is simple: the scandal was unrelated to the reputation he had built as an athlete. We loved him for his prowess in the pool, not the actions of his personal life. Who can honestly say they know anything about Phelps outside of his swimming achievements?

Phelps bong inhalation was not something that enhanced his performance in the pool.

Hope Solo’s comments were off the field.

Gabby Douglas–assuming you even agree she should be lambasted–didn’t commit some heinous act on a fellow Olympian, she just didn’t clap hard enough or raise her hand at the appropriate time.

Their reputations will be just fine. Sure, you should protect your reputation at all times, but unless you pull a Lance Armstrong, fans will (eventually) forgive you for being nothing more than human after all.