Saturday, January 1, 2011

David Beckham Fights Back Over Irma Nici's Sex Scandal

The print edition of Singapore's The Straits Times today reported that David Beckham has officially filed a US$25m lawsuit against Irma Nici (the sex worker who claims that Beckham has a threesome with her and another brunette at the Claridges Hotel in London) and the publishers of In Touch Weekly magazine (who ran the story in Sep 10). In court documents Beckham has declared that “he has never met Irma Nici and never involved in sex with her” and that her “statements have caused stress to his family”. This is the latest in a series of sex scandals that have been linked to Beckham.

From a crisis communications perspective, it is clear that Beckham's reputation in the area of marital fidelity is not favourable. Thus, it is likely that any accusations against him is perceived as highly plausible by stakeholders.  What is interesting is that the scandal does not seem to be affecting Beckham's brand image. On the contrary, the continued media attention only serves to keep him in the limelight and, in my opinion, add to his brand image. Hence, the decision to seek legal recourse, and what will be a very public court case, is a shrewd public relations move by Beckham.

Beckham's crisis response strategy must therefore be viewed in the context as one designed to gained publicity (and win a lawsuit) and not one in which the intention is to repair his reputation and brand image.

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