Charlie Sheen—A PR Nightmare, or “Winning” Record Holder?

For the past few weeks, Charlie Sheen has been a PR professional’s worst nightmare.  Sheen has pretty much taken over the task of managing his image, even making this comment about his publicist of over seven years, Stan Rosenfeld:

“I respect Stan, he was doing the best he could … but … I probably would have come up with something better.” (The Australian)

Ouch.  Can you blame Rosenfeld for resigning after that?  With Sheen’s lifestyle including regular violence, drug abuse, and prostitutes, Rosenfeld definitely was never at a loss for things to do.

But on the bright side for us PR pre-professionals, celebrity “meltdowns” can be a great way to learn.  Sheen’s debacle can teach us a lot not only about crisis management, but also social media!  Sheen’s debut on Twitter set a Guinness World Record for reaching one million followers in just over twenty-five hours! In addition, other Twitter profiles (@Sheentranslator) as well as web sites ( dedicated to Sheen’s personality are going viral just as quickly.

Sheen seems to be getting the hang of social media quite quickly, creating hashtags for his most recent catchphrases, sending #tigerblood, #winning, and #planbetter to the top of the trending lists.  He has also apparently grasped the concept of tweeting pictures, such as his first post on Twitter showing a picture of him with one of his “goddesses”.  Outside of Twitter, he has also utilized to air his live streaming show, Sheen’s Korner, which led to Sheen announcing a tour called My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option.

Sheen seems to be using social media so effectively (in his own way) that PR professionals are abuzz wondering if he’ll actually emerge from this whole debacle still “winning”.  Jerome Cleary says, about Sheen’s firing from Two and a Half Men, “I do not think it adds to the damage because the public obviously loves it…now the door is white open for either reality TV or another TV show…” (AFP)  Peter Shankman went as far as to wonder if this whole thing is just a PR stunt (AOL News).  While that may seem a bit extreme, Charlie Sheen definitely makes you wonder once again, is there such a thing as bad publicity?


Written by Brittany Berger. 

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