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Crisis Communication: BET co-founder blows it

By Suzanne Spurgeon  October 7, 2009

It took two weeks, but the co-founder of BET has finally apologized for saying something really stupid.  But, I feel she did not go far enough in her apology to the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Virginia.  Watch the clip of the offensive words and see if you agree.

Sheila Johnson took heat from The National Stuttering Association among others.  Johnson now says she was referring to the candidate's "inability to communicate effective solutions...".  There are so many effective ways to communicate that without mocking someone for a slight stutter.  In her apology Johnson says, "I shouldn't have done it in the manner in which I did and for that I apologize for any offense he, or others, may have taken".  When you say something as offensive as Johnson, your apology needs to be from the heart and finely crafted.  To me, this is neither.

In our YouTube world, it is important to react promptly to a communication crisis.  It's so much better to apologize before the video hits, rather than play catch-up.


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