“Thank God for Naomi Campbell,” media writers intone this time of year, as the dog days approach, newsmakers vanish into the ether and there is a seasonal drought of material.
The Jamaican-blooded British-accented global hedonist and hard-working model is one of those public figures—like Paris Hilton, Justin Bieber, Donald Trump, Janice Dickenson and Sarah Palin—who are indispensable to the tabloid narrative that distracts ordinary citizens from their daily drudgery.
Their missteps and machinations, overreaching and underthinking, dodging and weaving make men and women on the subway say to themselves, “Gee, maybe being rich and famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
In this week’s episode of The Misadventures of Miss Campbell, she hires a flack to scrub her entry in Wikipedia. And her heavy-handed p.r. man, Ken Sunshine, gets caught in the act. Fun soap opera plot, no? No? We think it is. Keep reading.
As you know, Wiki is a nonprofit crowd-sourced group-edited compilation of information that allows the public to contribute and edit entries, on the theory that people can be trusted to be honest (“Yuk yuk”, as Mammy Yokum would say). The Wikipedia Foundation strongly discourages paid advocacy editing by public relations firms and requires any of them doing so to disclose their affiliation with the client whose bio they are disinfecting.
“Most big firms try to stay away from Internet reputation management where employees go in, because it leaves a trail,” a communications consultant told The Times.
Sunshine not only went in and cleaned up his client’s messes on Wiki, he crowed about it. In April, one of his employees sent out an email listing ten celebrities whose Wiki entries had been laundered and saying, “We’re here to help your clients edit their pages, and the changes we make to existing pages are rarely challenged.”
So which part of Miss Campbell’s Wiki history was Sunshine trying to make disappear? See if you can guess:
1) The fact that Naomi pleaded guilty in Toronto to assaulting her personal assistant Georgina Galanis with a cell phone?
2) The fact that Naomi pleaded guilty in NY to assaulting her housekeeper Ana Scolavino with a Blackberry?
3) The fact that Naomi has been accused of physical abuse and beatings by eight other of her employees and former friends?
4) The fact that Naomi pleaded guilty in London to assaulting two police officers at Heathrow (she also spat at them)?
5) The fact that Naomi was photographed wearing a tee shirt that read, “Naomi Hit Me…And I Loved It”?
6) The fact that Naomi “starred as Michael Jackson’s love interest in the music video for In the Closet”?
If you picked any of the above, you are wrong, wrong, wrong. According to The Times, what the fumbling flack was trying to make go away was a statement that an R&B album Naomi recorded in 1994 called babywoman was “a critical and commercial failure.”
Talk about your upside-down priorities. That seems like the smallest pothole on Naomi’s bumpy road through life. In fact, when we heard about this crisis on the catwalk, we went back and listened to “Love and Tears”, one track on babywoman.
Guess what– we loved it and shed tears of joy. It’s beautifully photographed, and Naomi is enchanting, especially on a trapeze. Perhaps she abandoned her musical career too early. Here it is so you can enjoy it, too.
Naomi will survive this sticky Wiki, and so will her p.r. man. He was just trying to earn his retainer and should not be chided for crossing the line.
BOTTOM LINE: When all is said and done, flack lives matter.