HollywoodLife.com grilled seven image experts on what it will take for America’s most hated man to even attempt to get back into our good graces!
Jesse James is in deep grease. Not only did he cheat on America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock, with multiple mistresses, but he posed for photos in a Nazi uniform. Now the 41-year-old West Coast Choppers owner is trying to redeem himself by appearing on ABC’s Nightline May 25 — and seven image experts debate whether or not this risky publicity stunt will work.
Why Jesse SHOULDN’T do Nightline:
1) It’s airing dirty laundry.
“Infidelity is a private issue, not a public issue. Our TV shows are focused on sensationalism and shock value. But this this is a private matter. No public airing of dirty laundry! – Gloria Starr, Master Image, Etiquette, Communications and Leadership Coach
2) It seems fake.
It’s like a commercial. A public service announcement to flatter his own ego. He’s done his damage. What he should have done was keep his mouth shut and done some good. He did this to himself. No one did it to him. He’s made a fool of himself. He’s belittled his wife. He has no respect. – Image expert Michael Sands
3) A public apology will NOT win Sandra back.
For him to go into that same public arena and try to explain what he did, it just seems really inappropriate. If he’s really into reconciling, it seems to me the best way to do this is in private. Once they’ve reconciled then maybe going out together in public. Until she forgives him, the public won’t either. If it’s every excuse in the book, it doesn’t make up for the hurt and pain he has caused her. – Glenn Selig, Founder of the Publicity Agency
Because he’s a selfish bad guy and he’s going to cry and ‘look at me feel, bad for me,’ but…if he genuinely cares about her and the baby he wouldn’t do it. – Donny Deutsch, on the Today Show May 24.
Why Jesse SHOULD do Nightline:
1) It will put out America’s fire.
I would advise focusing this interview on a sincere apology, and using it as an opportunity to quiet the media frenzy. Public curiosity is what fuels the flames of media tenacity when covering a scandal. When a celebrity answers the basic questions, much of that will be extinguished. Intimate details are not required here. A simple statement of the facts, and an expression of extreme regret will always serve the celebrity best in these unfortunate situations. – Dr. R. J. Garis, Director / Senior Counsel, Garis PR & Media Group
2) Nightline is the toughest interview in town, and if he can survive this, he can survive anything.
You do need to sit there and have the conversation and apologize and admit what you’ve done. At Nightline, they’ll ask him some tough questions. He can’t just hide and Nightline’s not gonna take some publicist’s rules on what they can and can’t ask him. They’re gonna ask him the tough questions. So, hopefully that coupled with honest answers and him taking responsibility, and meaning it because people can tell… let’s call it a step, but it doesn’t get your image all the way. – PR guru Shawn Sachs, partner at Sunshine Sachs & Associates
3) Jesse didn’t have a beloved public ‘image’ in the first place, so why not?
Jesse James is a bad guy, he’s a motorcycle repair man. He’s not a star, he’s not a personality, he’s just a guy who married a big actress. He got lucky, good for him but he has no image to protect so he should just go on and be himself, that’s my take. — Joe Dolce, creative partner in the media strategy company DolceGoldin.
NOW HOW CAN HE CAN MAKE THE BEST REPAIR JOB POSSIBLE ON NIGHTLINE
1. Explain why he decided to on TV to say ‘sorry’ in the first place.
[Jesse] needs to say why he’s decided to go public. He needs to make it clear that this isn’t about getting his own career on track. This is really about getting a message to Sandra. He needs to give some sort of legitimacy as to why he’s going public on a TV show instead of doing it privately. –Glenn Selig, founder of The Publicity Agency
2. Accept responsibility for his actions.
Before you can start making amends, you need to take responsibility, put it all out there and explain what you did and why you did it. You can explain it by being like ‘I feel I’m embarrassed, I regret everything I’ve done, and I’ve made a mistake, a serious mistake. I ask for forgiveness from a lot of people that I’ve hurt and I’m here today to talk to a bigger audience and let them know that I know I screwed up.’ – Shawn Sachs
If I were his coach I would advise him to be tastefully honest … Be humbly sorry. I think the public is tired of hearing people say they couldn’t help their behavior. It’s sort of a narcissistic attitude. – Evangelia Souris of Optimum International Center for Image Management
3. Get emotional and show how much he’s lost through tears.
I would strongly encourage Jesse to clearly show his emotions on camera. This will humanize the interview and help eliminate any suspicion of him being fake. The worst thing would be to answer questions as if reading from a prepared statement or rehearsed script. Nobody will buy that. But if he keeps it real and appears to have learned a lesson, then I think he will eventually recover. – Dr. Garis
4. Look presentable, and not like the kind of guy who would cheat with tattooed strippers.
He should wear something respectful. He should be dressed as if he were going to a nice place or out to dinner — not over the top. In a way this is sort of an audition for him. He should be respectful of the process. – Glenn Selig
–Kirstin Benson, additional reporting by Lindsey DiMattina