Written by our Senior Account Manager Jessica McDonnell…
There’s an age-old saying in the industry: ‘there’s no such thing as bad PR’. This is a statement that for the most part I’m inclined to agree with.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll have likely seen the online backlash that 22-year-old social media influencer, businesswoman and reality TV star Molly Mae Hague has received. The reaction is off the back of comments made on a recent podcast. In Steven Bartlett’s podcast ‘Diary of a CEO’, Molly talks about how we all have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce. In Molly’s words, “I just think you’re given one life and it’s down to you what you do with it. You can literally go in any direction.”
Molly, who in 2021 was appointed creative director of fast fashion brand Pretty Little Thing, has been slammed across the press and social media, being called ‘tone deaf’, ‘a hypocrite’ and ‘out of touch with reality’. The comments have also unearthed allegations of PLT paying workers just £3.50 per hour to work in their factories.
However, many have leapt to Molly’s defence, stating that this short clip was taken out of context and in fact, podcast host Steven Bartlett agreed with the comments and has not received any backlash.
The question is, is all this publicity going to have a long-term impact on Molly Mae and her brand?
Social inequality has been placed at the forefront of many people’s minds due to the COVID19 pandemic, and arguably awareness on the devastating impact fast fashion can have on the planet is increasing, so the comments possibly couldn’t have surfaced at a worse time for Molly.
During the backlash, the press reported a huge spike in searching ‘how to cancel PLT order’ by 2,967% – so that’s not ideal! However, as with many media scandals, these things are often short-lived. Remember when one half of TV presenter duo Ant and Dec, Ant McPartlin, was convicted of drink driving? He was back in the nation’s good books by the following year. Pop favourite James Arthur once sent abusive tweets to One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson and former X Factor winner Matt Cardle and has gone on to sell over 30 million records worldwide.
Like any good PR team, Molly Mae’s people have released a statement defending the words she used and she herself has released an apology on Instagram, stating that her words were meant to inspire rather than offend. While we must always choose our words wisely, I don’t think that it’s fair to ‘cancel’ a young woman, for some potentially naive words. It will be interesting to see what Molly and her team do next to help with image damage control, watch this space!
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