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Somebody’s always watching

Somebody’s always watching

Last week, I violently attacked my brother-in-law in a hotel elevator.

His security guard had to pull me off. Repeatedly. My sister, inexplicably, just stood there and watched. It seemed like it went on for hours but it really was only a few minutes. When it was all over, we all coolly got off the elevator and exited the hotel. My sister and I got into one car, and my brother-in-law got into an SUV. It was like nothing ever happened.

A week later, someone leaked the footage from the elevator camera to TMZ, and we’ve been doing damage control ever since.

I heard that something really similar happened to Solange Knowles, her sister Beyoncé and Jay Z. after the
Met Gala last week.

A lot of people, including legendary celebrity PR man Howard Bragman, have gone on record saying that it just goes to show that no matter how much money and power you have, you probably won’t be able to keep a juicy scandal under wraps for long.

Which is true, but I think there’s another lesson to be learned as well: no matter how media and social-media savvy you are, there is always a chance that someone around you, momentarily forgetting that there is no such thing as privacy anymore, may do something to compromise your brand.

In the case of the Knowles-Carter fight, none of the three major players have been in a room without hidden cameras in their adult lives. Even Solange, who is only 27-years-old and at least two rungs down the fame ladder from the others, has been in the public eye for the entire 21st century. But somehow, she either didn’t think or, more likely – in the heat of the moment –+ didn’t care that her every action would come back to haunt not only herself but the company she was keeping.

It’s clear from the footage that Jay Z and Beyoncé were keenly aware that they were on candid camera. They never lost their composure, even as a few of Solange’s strappy peach stiletto-clad kicks landed.

But surely they knew it was only a matter of time. Chances are, they’ve been in confabs with their crises teams all week, playing out all the different possible scenarios. We may not ever know exactly what did or will happen, but it’s hard to imagine that any of them will come out of this completely unscathed.

While most of us have the mixed blessing of not quite having Jay Z and Beyoncé’s fame or money, many of us do have people around us whose actions can impact our reputations. For example, what an employee posts online, or their off-hours behavior out in public, can have the very real potential of being seen by clients. Maintaining an updated written online and offline code of conduct and making sure that there is a contingency for breeches in the crisis plan might help you avoid a kick in the pants – or at least anyone finding out about it.

For more information about this, check out our webinar: Your Job and Your Online Image: It’s Complicated, on Wednesday, May 21 at 10 a.m. CST. You can learn more and register here: