I am a big fan of reality cooking show Top Chef and this past season was turning out to be one of its best. Challenges consisted of a wider range of cuisines. The cast was diverse and they all seemed to genuinely like each other and eager to help.
But then the day after the finale aired, allegations surfaced that the winner had been fired for harassment back in December of 2020. This was after shooting wrapped in October, 2020, but before the show began airing this summer.
While host/judge/executive producer Padma Lakshmi posted on Twitter that they weren’t aware of the allegations while filming in October and that the process should be investigated, Top Chef and Bravo were both silent on the matter. Even previously outspoken judge Tom Colicchio said nothing.
I don’t want to get too much in the weeds with all of the details, so check out Top Chef’s Winner Is a Loss for Women Everywhere and Top Chef Season 18: The Discomfort of My Comfort TV for more.
The response (or lack thereof) to these allegations by Top Chef was woefully inadequate. This is a big hit show on a popular network that knows how to market (how else can you explain the Real Housewives franchise). They should know better. At the very least a condemnation of that behavior would have been appropriate or an official explanation of why they decided to air the season anyway.
But nothing. And as we all know by now, no response is a response.
So how can you do better than a fancy corporation with a staff full of PR people? Simple. Have the right protocols in place so you can react quickly and considerately. To start:
- Assemble a team that will handle situations like these
- Designate a spokesperson
- Identify the audiences you need address and the channel you need to address them on
- Create a statement process
By having these simple steps in place BEFORE a crisis strikes, you will be in the best position to react quickly and with integrity.
To learn more about creating your response plan, join us for this Thursday’s budget-friendly webinar Rapid Response Protocol: How to React Quickly to a Crisis, Current Event, or Catastrophe with nonprofit PR experts Antionette Kerr and Peter Panepento. Registration is only $20. Learn more and claim your spot.