She's the self-proclaimed publicist for Terrell Owens, wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys football team. I really think she has raised the term “spin doctor” to an altogether new iniquitous state.
Kim Etheredge, public relations' most recent "maquiller"?
Although I did search for Ms. Etheredge’s credentials—which seem to be sadly absent—I knew beforehand that I wouldn’t find anything. She does sell soap for the hair. Most of the rest of us would call that shampoo. But far be it from me to stand in Ms. Etheredge’s way to spin those words around.
According to her Web site, her primary credentials seem to be that she participated in everyday activities of “sun, water, fun and convertibles” in Los Angeles, which, she notes, is the entertainment capital of the world. Well, beside the fact that sun, water and convertibles are not, strictly speaking, activities, she got it wrong again. Since her presence in Dallas, I want to wager that, given enough time, Dallas' entertainment will certainly rival L.A.'s, if Ms. Etheredge has anything to say about it.
A publicist who makes statements, misstatements or "unavailable for comment" statements like these should be raising the eyebrows of bona fide public relations practitioners across the country:
"I don't remember everything I said. I really didn't know what was happening at the time." – Fort Worth Star Telegram
“On Wednesday, Etheredge denied saying he was depressed.” – Dallas Morning News
“Etheredge, who said she was the friend cited in the police document, told Dallas-area media Wednesday that the police got the story wrong.” – Dallas Morning News
“Etheredge did not immediately respond to repeated calls and e-mails from The Associated Press.”– Associated Press
“Owens took part in a risque promotional stunt with one of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" that later prompted an apology from the network.” – Dallas Morning News
“He was unable to attend because he was injured.” statement explaining Terrell Owens’ absence at an autograph session after Owens participated in an Eagles practice – Sports Goons
“When Etheredge spoke Wednesday, she lashed out at authorities, saying, 'I am just upset that I just feel they take advantage of Terrell. Had this been someone else, this may not have happened.' " – Dallas Morning News
“Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, was unavailable for comment, and his publicist, Kim Etheredge, had no comment.” – USA Today
“Terrell has 25 million reasons to be alive.” – Fort Worth Star Telegram
“He is not a disruptive person.” Etheredge said. – Football Guys
“It's 15000 square feet. That's a very large house for one person.” - CNN
“Owens' publicist, Kim Etheredge, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, both declined to speculate about his future.” – AP Sports
Okay. If you’ve managed to make it through these inane witticisms, you need to consider these instances:
1. Kim Etheredge managed to show up last July when Owens was practicing and an envelope just happened to fall at his feet. Inside? “Legal papers” that indicated that he was served. No explanation for these mysterious papers was ever given.
2. Back in Philadelphia, Ms. Etheredge managed to highlight T.O.’s trip to get gas. That resulted in a public disagreement with Eagle’s management. Ms. Etheredge insisted that T.O. should not have been told by team management to use inferior gas.
3. T.O. fires his long-time trainer but keeps Ms. Etheredge.
If all this sounds like Barnum & Bailey tactics, it’s because they are.
Public relations has moved so far beyond this, that I can’t believe more media relations folks aren’t, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, screaming, “Off with her head!”
Most PR practitioners seem to have taken the Wizard’s advice when he said, “Don’t pay any attention to that man behind the curtain.” But we ignore Ms. Etheredge at our own peril.
Somebody, please, anybody, unplug her before our reps are slandered anymore.
Question of the Week: Do you think that PRSA should adopt a policy of issuing statements disassociating itself from unethical practictioners who are not members of the organization?