What Are They Doing Now?

The Integrate Public Relations Team loves all things social media, and some of the girls’ guilty pleasures are pop culture and pop culture news websites.  They keep the rest of the team up-to-date on all things Hollywood and celebrities.

Recently Jon and Kate Gosselin, the stars from the canceled TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8, have been making a splash on entertainment news stations and websites.  Since their divorce in 2009, Jon and Kate have made their differences and negative opinions of the other known.  Everyone remembers Jon’s womanizing ways during his divorce and Kate’s effort to carry on the show as Kate Plus 8, but it’s the latest news headlines that have Integrate Public Relations’ pop culture lovers buzzing.  Their immersion back into stardom has us cringing, as it’s somewhat of a public relations nightmare.

Jon has made his way back to the front of the camera and is starring on the reality TV show Couples Therapy, with girlfriend Liz Jannetta. What seems to be pushing him even further into the spotlight are the interviews, like the one with E! News, where he says he wants “temporary primary custody” of the children because he thinks Kate needs a “psychiatric evaluation.” 

These interviews are the result of Kate and her twin daughters’, Mady and Cara, disastrous interview on the TODAY Show where the twin girls hardly spoke.  Needless to say, this is a crisis PR situation.  After this awkward, quiet interview Kate is being scrutinized for her parenting skills, or lack there of, and if she raising her eight children in the celebrity lime light is too much for her, and for her children.

As PR professionals we have to ask, is this the best way to handle the situation?  Dealing with media while simultaneously dealing with another person who has opposing views can be complicated.  The different components of their relationship would probably work more cohesively if Jon and Kate discussed such topics as custody and Kate’s mental health one-on-one and behind closed doors.  If the two feel the need to broadcast their statements and publicize their personal affairs, they should have a PR professional give them media training or use a spokesperson to release a truthful, neutral statement.

What makes this situation particularly challenging from a PR standpoint is that Kate appeared with her twin daughters on the Today Show fully confident that they would speak up in support of her and her parenting, as they had in a previous magazine interview. It was difficult to watch Kate squirm when her daughters declined to answer or cooperate. Clearly, she was not briefed on what to do in the absolute worst of situations. Crisis communication and damage control are necessary in the PR world, and we can learn from Kate’s unraveling on a national television show.