The David Beckham leaked email scandal is a wake-up call to the PR industry on the impact of cyber crime on celebrity reputations.
Compared to his footballing peers, David Beckham has maintained an almost impossibly clean image in recent years. The fall from grace is thus that bit further, and the bump down to earth that bit harder.
This weekend, Beckham went from ‘Goldenballs’ to “grubby chancer” (Jan Moir, Daily Mail). Even pictures of him being the consumate family man, posted on his personal social media pages this weekend – have been widely rejected as transparent and cynical. The damage is immense. Whether and how he can bounce back remains to be seen.
Simon Oliveira’s team has made a couple of bold statements in the wake of the scandal; that the emails have been tampered with, and that nothing else will come out about Becks. If either of these turn out not to be true, the fallout will be considerably worse for both Beckham and for his comms team. It’s hard to imagine how either will bounce back from such a revelation.
Reminding the public of Beckham’s charity work is important, but the likes of Jan Moir are unlikely to accept this as a payoff, especially now that they’ve got their teeth into him. I hope, for their sake, they have more up their sleeve.
Finally, claiming that their emails have been hacked is not necessarily a wise move in terms of their own business – with the likes of Beckham on their books, one would have thought that having a watertight email security system is of the utmost importance to new and existing high-profile clients.
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