Dignity Trumps Brashness for Reputation Management
Forget Charlie Sheen and his recent ravings during a mystifying media blitz, which, amazingly, is being portrayed by some as his attempts at reputation management. Let's instead look at the quiet dignity of this year's Best Actress winner who, like her predecessor, had to face an embarrassing incident at the time of her greatest career triumph.
Natalie Portman, who took home the golden statue on Sunday night, had learned just before the event that John Galliano, the creative director of her sponsor, Dior, had been arrested for hurling antisemitic remarks at a couple in a Paris cafe. On the night that the entire fashion industry and fashion-watchers everywhere were scrutinizing the Best Actress nominees' dress choices for the Red Carpet, Portman did not wear Dior and, instead, chose a dress from Rodarte for the event. This last minute dress switch was not an easy feat, particularly given that the petite actress is very pregnant.
The day after the awards show, Portman released a statement about the Galliano incident that included the following:
"I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today," Portman said in a statement. "In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."
Portman did not disrupt the Oscar ceremony with her statement. She did not draw attention to her last minute choice of a designer other than Christian Dior, which the fashionistas everywhere expected her to wear due to her relationship with the brand. She released her statement afterwards and even handled that quietly, as Dior was making its own statement disassociating itself from Galliano.
Just like Sandra Bullock last year, who quietly had to endure the details of her husband's infidelity right after she won the Oscar, Portman handled this situation with class and dignity. Now that's reputation management. Take a lesson, Charlie Sheen.