There Goes Honey Boo Boo…

Here Come Honey Boo Boo looks like it’s ending its run on TLC. On Friday, reports surfaced that the network had canceled production because of the star’s mother, June “Mama June” Shannon, alleged relationship with a convicted sex offender, Mark Anthony McDaniel. McDaniel served 10 years in prison after being convicted of aggravated child molestation back in 2004.

News of Shannon’s relationship with McDaniel hit the airways on Thursday. Shannon immediately took to her daughter Alana Thompson’s Facebook page to make a statement about the scandal. She said, “I want to make a post trying to clear up the rumors remember you can’t believe everything you read! Ppl (sic) sell stories to the tabloid everyday that r (sic) false! It isn’t true I promise my kids r (sic) #1 priority over anything else and I would never put them in danger period over this or anything else they r (sic) my life this is my past I left him 10 yrs (sic) ago for it and I wouldn’t go back.” To the reader, it looks like Shannon had a previous relationship with McDaniel before his conviction and these reports are coming back now that she is a reality star.

This news comes after Shannon’s recent separation from partner “Sugar Bear” Thompson. The show featured their wedding last season and all seemed happy and peaceful with the family. I believe the recent news with the family has shocked fans because they have grown accustom to the “happy family” image the show portrays. As a viewer of the show, I have noticed the gags and shocking behavior of the Thompson family but I have never noticed the lack of family love.

I believe that it was right for TLC to halt production of the show until this scandal has been completely cleared up. I believe that the show would lose a significant amount of viewers if the show featured Shannon’s relationship with a sex offender.  I like to reference Mill’s Principle of Utility when studying this case because I think that TLC needs to look at everyone involved in this case when making an ethical decision. It is not right for the viewers to see that TLC is supporting and showing a registered sex offender on their show. It does not set a very good example and it would prove that the show was only it in for ratings and not to portray the life of Thompson and her family. Also, I believe that this decision affects Shannon’s children, as well. The cancelation proves to her children that having a relationship with this man is wrong and in turn, deserves repercussions.


 

This post was originally featured in Ethical Practices in Mass Communication blog, featuring the writing of LSU’s Mass Communication 4090 class. The post was originally posted on October 26, 2014.

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Sea World

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A screenshot from seaworld.com/truth

Since the movie Blackfish was released, Sea World Amusement Parks have been under constant fire for their treatment of their killer whales. The movie exposed Sea World employee’s talking about the terrible treatment of the giant fish and shed a bad light on the company. The film focuses on Tilikum, a killer whale that is responsible for the death of three Sea World employees. The movie was created after the death of Dawn Brancheau, who was pulled under the water and attacked by Tilikum. Sea World announced that she was targeted by the giant sea animal because she wore her hair in a ponytail that day. 

Now, Sea World has a huge PR problem on their hands. For years, the company has boasted its love for animals and its fun habitats for the giant beasts. The movie took this image and ripped it to shreds. To combat these accusations, Sea World immediately got on the defense and started to attack the makers of the film. 

Their Facebook page posts pictures that read “I Stand with Sea World,” and other pro- Sea World advertisements. They also established a website with the URL of seaworld.com/truth. This website attacks the film using many different forms of social media. They have videos from professionals and even employees that were featured in the film. In addition to those videos, there is factual information about the care that Sea World provides for their whales and how the protect the special bond between a mother whale and her calf. There are letters from the zoological team and even a video of Tilikum playfully interacting with a Sea World Guest.

I took away a lot from this case, including what not to do in this kind of PR crisis. I believe that Sea World did not handle this situation very well because they took such a hard defensive position against the film and attacked the facts portrayed in it. I believe the best way for Sea World to react to the movie would be to assure their guests that their animals will be treated better in the future, since people have already seen the dark side. They need to show that they are trying to reform the parks with more technology and better care for its animals.

Nicco Mele

I learned a lot from Nicco Mele’s presentation to our MC 4002 class. Personally, I loved his views on embracing your individual reality. The best example that he gave was about John Kerry’s presidential campaign. John Kerry, a Boston native, could have used the fact that the Red Sox’s won the World Series for the first time in 100 years in his campaign but, he chose not to even mention it. This could be an opportunity to embrace his roots and really rally for his city but, he decided to post a blog article about healthcare reform. I see this as a missed opportunity for John Kerry and his campaign. 

I believe that making your client a real person is very important during any campaign. Personally, I would be more likely to follow a person on Twitter than a brand. In reality, it is usually never the actual person tweeting and posting but, it makes the person seem more reachable and real. 

Also, Mele talked about how intimate media has become. It is usually the first thing you do in the morning and how you find out major life changes about family and friends. Social media has become a way of life and something that people must embrace. In this movement toward intimate media, I found that is important for PR practitioners to adapt to this change and use this as an opportunity to make clients and brands more relatable. 

Southern University

Last Friday, Chancellor James Llorens of Southern University found out that his contract for the next school year would not be renewed and would expire on June 30, 2014. The board that made this decision was made up of 16 people who have stayed relatively quite since the vote was made. The exception to that statement is Ronald Mason, the President of Southern University.

Mason said that he stands by his statement that Llorens’ contract should be extended for one year. This would include some of Llorens’ power being given to Mason. The students of Southern University in Baton Rouge have not taken this decision lightly. The President of the Southern Student Government Association organized a protest rally to keep Llorens as the chancellor. 

The students’ protests were so effective that the board has agreed to meet again to discuss Llorens’ contract. This proves that the old grassroots ways of protest should not be forgotten in today’s times. The students would not stand for this ruling and they have made enough noise via social media and in the school that they are making the board take a second look. 

This situation paints Mason as the bad guy. To the public, it seems like he is trying to take the power for himself and not let the students have the candidate that they want for the job. The best way for Mason to handle this situation would be to issue a public statement to the students to ask them what they want and put some of the power into their hands. If he opened an online forum of some sort, the students could voice their reasons as to whether or not they would like Llorens to stay as the chancellor of the school and the board can base their decision on the student’s voices. If Mason stands behind the students, he will get back in their good graces and the university will function even better than before. 

Uintah Elementary

On January 28, 40 parents in the Uintah School District were in shock when their children returned home from school to tell them that their lunches were thrown away. After investigation, parents found out that a child-nutrition manager was called into the school to investigate the number of students who were in debt to the cafeteria. Once the children were served, the students that were in debt had their lunches seized and thrown into the trash.

If I were a parent at this school, I would have been outraged at the treatment of these students. Not only is this incident wasteful, but embarrassing to students and parents. I believe that the best solution to this problem would be reforming the cafeteria system. With new technology, the schools could set up an email or text messaging service to notify parents when their children are on the verge of a negative cafeteria balance. This would be effective because these elementary students would not be responsible for notifying their parents. 

Situations like these make me wonder how often this occurs. My sister, a Baton Rouge high school senior, notified me that students are her high school are not allowed to be served lunch if they are not wearing their student ID around their neck. In recent trends, it seems that schools are putting more focus on things like money or rules than nutrition. Hopefully, this case will be a wake up call to schools around the nation to seek reform in their cafeteria systems.