Oops, she did it again.
MSNBC’s gossip reporter, who writes “The Scoop” column for the cable news channel’s Web site, created yet another PR nightmare with her big mouth.
Courtney Hazlett’s latest goof comes a few months after she referred to actor Heath Ledger’s death as almost a “dress rehearsal" for Owen Wilson.
Hazlett decided to take on Spike Lee this time.
On the cable channel’s Morning Joe show, Hazlett described Spike Lee as having gotten "real uppity" in his fight with Clint Eastwood about the racial makeup of the director's films.
The online dictionary Merriam-Webster defines ‘uppity,’ as arrogant and presumptuous. But the word has racial overtones as well. Blacks have often been described by white racists as being "uppity" if they asserted their rights to vote, sit at a lunch counter or ride in the front of the bus,
The uppity remark rang the crisis communications alarm bell at MSNBC’s PR department.
MSNBC'S PR team quickly released a statement from Hazlett to smooth the ruffled feathers.
“Today on 'Morning Joe' I chose my words poorly in describing the relationship between Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee. I take my responsibilities as a journalist seriously and know that words can have a strong impact. I sincerely apologize to Spike Lee and to the viewers for my comments,” Hazlett said in a statement.
Despite her horrible choice of words, one wonders whether formal apologies in the age of social media just make matters worse. Millions of people who would otherwise have been blissfully ignorant of the entire escapade now know about the comments because of the apology.
Trotting out apologies seems to be a weekly occurrence in corporate PR. Witness last week's Dunkin'' Donuts and Rachael Ray paisley scarf fiasco. With a 24/7 blogosphere hungry for anything to write about, does an apology just extend the life of a mistake?