Silence worsened sordid Penn State scandal–2011 PR Disaster of the Year

The real tragedy of the scandal at Penn State is that so many of Jerry Sandusky’s alleged acts of predatory sexual abuse over the years could have been prevented if university officials had not tried to keep it quiet. Hoping to avoid an ugly incident, their silence led to arguably the worst scandal in American sports history … and made for an easy choice for the Force for Good’s 2011 PR Disaster of the Year.

 

Time and again, the lasting impact of a crisis is made worse by those first on the scene hoping to sweep it under the rug. How many times have you you heard, “The coverup was worse than the crime?”

Bold prediction: this won’t be the last time a scandal is made far worse by embarrassed officials trying to make it all go away. Don’t let it happen at your company. Work with senior leadership to develop a rigorous crisis management plan built around smart, proactive crisis communications to all stakeholders.

Click here for five years of truly memorable recipients of FFG’s PR Disaster of the Year.

- Jon Harmon

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