It’s an old joke but one I loosely hold to be true: “There are three people you must trust with your most scandalous truths: your lawyer, your PR consultant, and your second wife.” 

While I naturally advocate openness and transparency in all matters, I cannot stress how important it is to give the people working on your behalf that embarrassing info before a crisis emerges like Godzilla in the mist. 

This is my one, finite rule to working with me. Please, my darlings, give us time to build up the information and insight we need to defend you to the level you deserve. However humiliating it may be to tell your legal team or crisis consultant that you were possibly photographed with a dominatrix dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog, I absolutely guarantee you it will be more embarrassing to wake up to it on the front page of The Sun.

Okay, we aren’t magicians. I can’t (and wouldn’t want to) interfere with the integral rights and strengths of the Fourth Estate. The truth is important, and if it has a right to be in the public eye, then I won’t be the one yelling down the phone about a lawsuit. So what can I do? I can give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story. 

The truth is never as simple as angels and demons, or heroes and villains. I genuinely don’t believe there are many genuinely evil – or perfect – people on this earth. There are, however, a lot of people who have to make difficult decisions. There are people who have to take the blame for a much wider problem. There are those who made genuine, honest mistakes and are currently experiencing the horror of the public eye. Maybe you meant to behave badly, maybe you didn’t. The facts remain the same: There’s never one side to a story. 

The storyteller didn’t tell you that Little Red Riding Hood had monopolised the chicken industry in the Big Bad Wood, leaving the single dad wolf and his eight kids starving for months. The lack of planning permission behind the third little pig’s brick-built complex wasn’t mentioned either, along with the truth about Hansel’s repeated prosecutions for vandalism, extortion and GBH long before the old grandmother in the gingerbread residence met her toasty fate. My point is, villains are usually badly researched humans. I’m not saying I’d represent anyone (I wouldn’t represent anyone I considered morally bankrupt) but I am saying I believe in the right of reply.

So if you need a press conference, advice, or just someone to listen while you have a good cry, I’m here, judgement free and ready with some tea and biscuits. Whatever you are going through, we are stronger through communication, open discussion, and honesty.

Madelaine Hanson

By Madelaine Hanson - Former Consultant

20 September 2019

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