Wrestler hires Sitrick & Co. for crisis comms

LOS ANGELES: Wrestling superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has hired Sitrick & Co. for crisis work following a stabbing incident at a Beverly Hills restaurant.

LOS ANGELES: Wrestling superstar "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has hired Sitrick & Co. for crisis work following a stabbing incident at a Beverly Hills restaurant.

Sitrick entertainment practice head Allan Mayer began the work by releasing the previously unreported story to Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein. Goldstein featured the complicated story in his August 17 column, which runs on the front page of the Calendar entertainment section.

Mayer said the decision to approach Goldstein was made because Austin and his management team "realized very quickly that this is going to come out and if we don't do anything, this is going to come out in the tabloids and Page Six."

He added that Goldstein was particularly targeted because Mayer wanted a news outlet that would "treat (the story) with the kind of scrupulous neutrality that Goldstein and the Times would use. When you're confident of the facts, what you want is a smart reporter who tells the story fairly. You can't tell Patrick what to do, which is another way of saying he's a straight shooter."

The incident took place on August 4, when Austin's then-girlfriend, Tess Broussard, allegedly stabbed Austin's business manager with a steak knife at Il Fornaio, a popular Beverly Hills restaurant. Broussard was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, but claims in a lawsuit filed last week that the stabbing was staged by Austin and his manager to prevent her from moving forward with an assault and personal injury lawsuit.

Mayer said that he expects the litigation to continue for some time, and that Austin plans on filing his own civil suit against Broussard. He added that in addition to addressing media questions as they come up, a key strategy is to highlight outside sources that bolster Austin's version of events.

"The main thing about this situation is that it can seem that it's a 'he said, she said,' but it isn't really, and this is a tremendous advantage," said Mayer. "Anything Steve has to say is corroborated by police reports, medical records, or the firsthand accounts of other people."

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