In a Weinstein world, pillars topple quickly

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In today’s climate why does crisis management strategy call for rapid removal of the accused?

As recently as a few months ago it wasn’t a surprise to anyone when a company leader or powerful star was protected against allegations of abuse, or at least given the benefit of a doubt. Yet we’re now seeing even a hint of the same behavior result in high-profile firing. What’s changed?

Here’s what I told CBC News’ Mark Gollum about the Weinstein world we’ve been ushered into:

“Here’s the dilemma companies are facing: if you stick by someone and the allegations turn out to be true, you’re going to be viewed as an accomplice to the behavior. When the dust settles, there is always a ‘poster child’ for major controversies, and everyone is scrambling to not wind up holding a smoking gun.”

We frequently see a similar pattern when major scandals break. When VW’s emissions scandal hit we declared it was only a matter of time before others in the industry were exposed, and it was mere weeks before that happened. Now, the same pattern is flowing through Hollywood, except this time it’s jumped borders into politics, the business world, and more.

The court of public opinion has never been more powerful than it is today. A verdict is reached long before any case hits a court of law, and if you land on the wrong side of an issue the internet will make certain people are reading about it for years down the road. While you can’t go back in time, you can fill a position that’s been forcibly vacated, which means we’ve only seen the beginning of the list of heads that will roll.

Erik Bernstein

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