Who you calling a bitch?
How not to succeed at PR: Houston's Bloggess owns name-calling VP on Twitterafter Kardashian nonsense
When your business is public relations, the cardinal rule should be similar to the one doctors repeat: First, do no harm.
That's what a few people at Brand Link Communications discovered when they got in an argument with Jenny Lawson on Thursday evening.
As The Bloggess, Lawson's hilarious, random and often sarcastic musings have earned her a loyal following. It's also earned her plenty of lame PR pitches about D-list celebrities doing or wearing perfectly uninteresting things. To combat the practice, she convinced Star Trek's Wil Wheaton to pose for a picture while collating papers, and she sends that picture in response.
Apparently someone at Brand Link didn't appreciate the picture of Wheaton in response to a pitch about a Kardashian wearing pantyhose, and fired off a curt but professional email to Lawson. Which would have been fine, except that Jose Martinez, Brand Link's vice president and media director, replied all (including, whoops, Lawson) to the email with one line: "What a fucking bitch!"
Not cool, Jose. Calling him out for his insult and for sending pitches without research, Lawson fired back:
Also, I apologize if you were offended by my email. Honestly, I’ve been sending that thing out to PR people for the last year and this is the first time I didn’t have someone respond with either a laugh, or with a simple “No problem. We’ll remove you from the list.” In fact, many PR companies have turned this entire thing around and sent really hysterical exchanges to me, which I’ve used to promote their great work in understanding (and working with) the unique personalities of the very bloggers they’re trying to reach out to. Just a thought."
At this point Martinez probably should have just buried the hatchet — after all, this is a woman who was blocked by William Shatner on Twitter after drunkenly offering him hookers. Instead Martinez doubled-down, responding in part:
To go out of your way to be snarky and rude is a little inappropriate. Again, I should’ve been less harsh — but I also feel like your email was rude and unprofessional as well. We will do a better job to research who we are pitching but maybe you should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough to be pitched at all instead of alienated PR firms and PR people — who are actually the livelihood of any journalists business."
And with that, it was ON. Lawson tweeted at the company letting her 164,000 followers know that the VP "called her a 'fucking bitch.'" By current count, about a gazillion of her followers have voiced their displeasure with Jose and the company on Twitter — even Wil Wheaton himself weighed in for Jenny.
Lawson updated her blog entry and has tweeted about how amazing the outpouring of support online has been. By Friday morning, Brand Link had reached out to Lawson with an apology, but this was a lesson learned the hard way.
As Bloggess fan Josh Cagan put it on Twitter, "Lesson learned to all PR companies: Treat every blogger like they potentially have a dark army at their disposal."