New York (AFP)
Liam Neeson was a scandal when he cited a racist episode of his past and must now solve his career, a challenge many accepted celebrities before him in the world of proclamation more lenient than in the company.
"Kill" "black bark". The words of Liam Neeson, who more than 40 years ago referred to his state of mind, after the rape of a friend with a black man, echoed six days later in the media landscape.
Apologizing to the British comedian on television the next day, when he claimed to be "not racist," something was silent, and others did not acknowledge anything.
For the black director of Ave DuVernay, Liam Neeson is a symbol of the "white privilege" that would lead him to accept the whites that no one would tolerate a black man.
On social networks, several people asked him to return his scenes to the next "Men in Black" with another player.
"Do not be surprised if someone does not want to work with you again," said Regina King in an interview with The Independent, which triggered Liam Neeson's controversial interview.
"Acts are generally more harmful than statements," says Professor Joseph Caobsky, professor of the University of North Carolina who specializes in public relations. "But the case of Neeson is rather unique, because what he said is related to his conduct."
According to several crisis management experts, a television interview was a good start after the conflict, despite the fact.
"In a world where everything is current, we have to act more quickly than before," said Ronn Torosian, founder of the 5WPR agency, for which due to the current media context, it is necessary to have a communicator, which is himself.
"He must continue to apologize," he says, "and explain that he made a mistake instead of trying to defend himself or give context to his remarks."
"Actions are more than words," says Steve Jaffe of Jaffe & Company. "I should have met with organizations involved in the dialogue on racism."
A strategy that can only work, experts say, if we perceive it as sincere and not opportunist.
– Beneficial precedents –
At this point, none of Liam Neeson's current projects seems to be threatened by a scandal.
"The reputation that you had before the crisis is crucial," says Steve Jaffe, who worked with Bill Clinton. "It's easier to hear the apology of a good guy" or perceive it as such, "instead of someone who only seems to be trying to keep his job."
Some actors and directors came to rescue the comedian of Northern Ireland, including black actress Whoopi Goldberg.
Mark Hass, a professor of strategic communication at the University of Arizona, says that celebrities generally have special tolerance from the public.
"I think the media vortex will disappear as soon as it is designed," predicts Liam Neeson.
Outside the world of cinema, musicians or politicians also have relatively impunity for their comments.
"Just look at Donald Trump," says Mark Hass, who clearly distinguishes himself from the business world.
"The difference is that bosses usually have a board that can dismiss them," he says. "This does not apply to celebrities like Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson or Kanye West."
Many Milo Gibson was quoted as the final example of the resurrection.
The author of homophobic, racist and anti-Semitic statements, accused of domestic violence, was the actor and director of the year 2006 treated as a persona non grata in Hollywood.
After nearly a decade of crossing the desert, it returned in 2016 with bloom and is again part of a large Hollywood family.
Gary Oldman or rapper Kanye West had their controversy but did not leave the country.
And if we expand the spectrum to a sexist or homophobic, it's a few tens to pass through cracks, despite polemics that are sometimes violent.
Joseph Cabosky cites the case of Kevin Hart, who was involved in the dispute at the beginning of December, around old homophobic remarks, and who soon gave up to present the Academy Award Ceremony.
"His movie," The Upside + "came out just weeks after," remembers, "and did much better than expected."
© 2019 AFP