Last weekend, a post from Xie Xiao, an editor-in-chief of a paparazzi magazine caused uproar in Sina Weibo. She said she has some evidences about the betrayal of Wen Zhang, a Chinese major film and TV star. Xie said she will publish all the pictures they took on the coming Monday. Therefore, netizens create a hashtage #See you on Monday# on Weibo and it became the top topic immediately.
During the weekend, all the social media platforms became a national forum for netizens to discuss this unbelievable news. Why it is unbelievable? Because Wen Zhang’s personal image is always a considerate husband and a competent father. He married with his wife Ma Yili, a famous actress in TV series for eight years. When they were marry, Wen was just a walk on role in the movie, but Ma had already been the hottest actress in China’s TV industry. He once said many times in the TV show: ”the most proud things in my life is My Wife is Ma Yili”! He always be regarded as the representative of the superior husband. When everyone is guess whether the Weibo post is real or not, Wen posted a statement via his personal Weibo account – to apologise to his wife in public. “I have brought this upon myself… Please accept my heart-felt apology and remorse… My mistake does not deserve to be forgiven, and it will be difficult for me to make amends for all the harm I’ve caused,” he wrote.
However, the netizens seems not do not want to accept his apology. The open nature of his response resonated with Weibo users, provoking a wave of activity on the network. It has now been shared 1.25 million times, and generated almost 2 million comments. The figures continue to grow, and the post has become the biggest ever to appear on the network. Many respondents were unimpressed: “Wen Zhang deceived all of us. He gained popularity by presenting himself as a good man and a good dad. But he has now turned out to be a hypocrite,” said one. “You have been having an affair for a year and never repented. Now you are repentant just a day after you were exposed?” another posted. Some pointed out that the comments on Zhang’s page weren’t as abusive as those levelled at Yao Di, the woman with whom he had the affair. “Does society treat men and women so differently in terms of the level of tolerance and public opinion?” said one comment.
His wife Ma Yili answered online, also choosing to post her response on Weibo. “Being in love is easy, being married is not. It is to be cherished,” she wrote, and her own message prompted more than a million comments. Wen Zhang later hit out at the two senior journalists who exposed his affair. “You both have children. When will you stop? If you want to play, play with me alone and don’t involve others,” he posted.
When the netizens are suspect the capability of Wen Zhang’s PR team, another post from an account named “Ma Yili’s Father” said like this: “ To the editor-in-chief: I don’t know why you are so mean to Wen Zhang that everyone don’t want to forgive him. Only if he would like to recognise his mistake, my daughter would like to forgive him. My granddaughter asked her mum yesterday “Mummy, every news on TV said you and Daddy had divorced. Is it real?” Thus, please let him off, if you want to give him a lesson, it is enough, just let him off… ”. This post not only hasn’t got any sympathy of the netizens but let the netizens are more disgusted with his PR team. How could a lack-educated-background elder man writes such a long lettered announcement? All the details are fully exposed the non-professional reaction of Wen’s PR team when they met crisis.
As a highest exposure public figure, the thing entertainment stars never lack is crisis.
In early 2008, the biggest event on the network is Edison’s “Pornographic” photos scandal. Edison as a Hong Kong icon star, had been exposed a large amount of porn photos. On the February 4, Edison first publicly apologized to the public. He used the method of recording confession in front of a gray wall, with a white shirt, and looked frustrated. Edison said: “In this regard, I feel hurt, pain and distress, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to any innocent person afflicted by my stupid action.”
On February 21 in the same year, Edison held a press conference, admitted his mistakes again and announced he were quit from the Hong Kong entertainment industry. The same conference is conducted in English, more accurately express what he meant, and he apologized consecutive 13 times during that periods. CNN broadcast of the evening news on the day of the press conference live, to comment: “In America, sex scandals can help one’s career, but not in Asia.”
After the press conference, Tencent conducted an online survey, as of 21:30 the next day, over 37 million votes, about 52 percent of Internet users accepted his apology, and thought he is quite sincere. For Edison decided to quit the Hong Kong entertainment industry, about 48% of Internet users showed sympathy to him, and thought it is a pity.
Now, how is Edison? He came back with a network drama recently, and showed the love moments with his current girlfriend also frequently in the news. Cecilia, one of the influenced girls in that sandal, is now the image of a good mother. One of the most-shared message in Weibo was: “Wen Zhang let too many people down, compared with such a man, I woulf rather prefer Edison with a bunch of problems but knows what is the bottom line”.
In the developing media age, Public Relations should not just write press releases, and then put to the media directly; it is not just aim to make some hits, or the amount of reading; Public relations should not be the combination of promotion, reception, secretary and administer. They should not always hold a “control” attitude to media, and always attempt to “teach the media to speak”.
Network is omnipotent; users are mean but forgetful. Only by taking a frank, positive attitude, and proper use and reliable performance of the text, so that can gain publics’ recognition and understanding, in order to be truly overcome the crisis.
#BBCtrending: Celebrity apology breaks Weibo record