The PR Guru

March 19, 2013


We are often asked our opinions of controversial statements when they hit the headlines, and how we would deal with the fall-out afterwards.

Damage limitation (usually known as crisis communications) is one of the big reasons for using PR – especially if your clients are celebrities. Bill Roache‘s PR people will have a big task on their hands today, thanks to this story!

We would never encourage a celebrity to hide their opinions, because they are entitled to them. And someone without views, desperate not to cause offence, would seem at best bland and boring, and at worst fake – not attractive qualities.

In fact Bill Roache, famous for playing Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, has often been portrayed as exactly that. He sued The Sun in 1999 because they called him boring.

He won, and received a £50000 out of court settlement, but was adjudged to have wasted the court’s time and had to cover his own court costs, which were £120000.

So he then sued his solicitors for giving him bad advice. He lost.

This fight eventually forced him to declare himself bankrupt.

Ever since then he has seemingly been going out of his way to show his controversial side, claiming to have slept with more than 1000 women last year, and now his unbelievable comments on the victims of sex crimes.

He seems determined to air his beliefs to anyone that will listen and doesn’t consider those who may be hurt by his comments. He shows little understanding of what it’s like to be a victim of a sex crime.

It has also been noted that during the interview, with a TV station in New Zealand, that he defended a “fringe” of people such as pop stars that get “trapped” by young girls that have no proof of age.

He suggested that victims bring it on themselves because of how they acted in a previous life but had no explanation as to why the attackers behave in such a way.

Outrage is currently taking #twitter by storm and a lot of negativity is being aimed towards the actor.

For example, Dr. Jon Bird of #NAPAC (National Association of People Abused in Childhood) has spoken out and expressed his disgust. And many victims of child abuse will be condemning the actor today.

We live in a democracy and people are entitled to their opinions, however misguided. But when you go around publicly implying that ‘abuse victims bring things on themselves’ you can expect repercussions. 

Bill Roache’s battles with The Sun and others to portray himself as interesting are doing his reputation no favours. And they are not doing his bank balance any favours either.

It will take a lot of work to repair his image after this – if it can ever be repaired.

We are not suggesting that he will be sacked from Coronation Street for this, and perhaps he knows his job is safe. Perhaps, given his age, he doesn’t care about his reputation.

But as a general rule, for anyone who does care about their reputation, and their company’s reputation, we would politely suggest they keep their opinions to themselves.


Richard Swancott Associates provides bespoke PR and social media campaigns for businesses of all sizes and descriptions. Through their partners, they also offer search engine optimisation, email marketing, and telemarketing services.

All campaigns come with money-back guarantees, based on our performance. So if you don’t get a good return on your investment, you don’t pay anything!

For further information, contact Richard Swancott Associates on 01782 472035 or


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