“It’s handled”

Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washingtion)  takes care of scandals and practices crisis management on screen on the hit ABC show “Scandal.” In the last few days it seems as though Kerry has stirred up her own scandal but instead of it taking place on the streets of Washington D.C. it unfolded on social media. Just two days ago Kerry Washington shared this image and statement on her Instagram account:

Quickly, fans and followers started pointing out Kerry’s much lighter skin tone accusing InStyle magazine of digitally higlighting her skin. As the twitter and Instagram worlds started roaring with mixed opinions and comments; the crisis and PR team at InStyle quickly and accurately responded in one of the fastest and simplest crisis communication statements I have ever read. “We are super fans of Kerry Washington here at InStyle. To feature her on the cover of our March spring fashion issue is both an honor and a delight. We have heard from those who have spoken out about our newsstand cover photograph, concerned that Kerry’s skin tone was lightened. While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern. We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.” http://news.instyle.com/2015/02/05/from-instyle-on-kerry-washingtons-cover/ Not only did the magazine issue a statement on the same day as Kerry’s cover post but the grace they used is one for the books. InStyle did as follows:

  • Recognized fans and readers concerns
  • Explained the reason for the her skin appearing light
  • Showed they understood how it may have hurt people
  • Expressed their appreciation of feedback
  • Shared their commitment to making their magazine a positive experience for all women

InStyle didn’t hide nor did they apologize but what they did instead was recognize concerns and share their key message. Kerry even tweeted in response to their statement saying, “Beautiful statement. Thank u 4 opening this convo. Its an important 1 that needs to be had.”

In the words of Olivia Pope, “It’s handled.”


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