After Walter Palmer unknowingly caused an international outrage after killing the beloved Cecil the Lion during a hunting excursion in Zimbabwe, J Austin & Associates stepped up to the plate with media relations support for one day. However, many PR pros questioned on Twitter whether the firm should have supported the Minnesota dentist in the first place.
Nearly nine in 10 respondents to a poll on PRWeek.com/US said they would not have provided crisis communications support to Palmer, with more than 87% of respondents saying, "No way. The way the lion was killed was too disturbing for me" as of Friday morning.
More than 12% responded, "Sure. Many people hunt. And nearly everyone deserves representation."
The international incident also forced Yelp to take action and remove a barrage of negative reviews of River Bluff Dental, the business owned by Palmer. The website’s content guidelines state reviews are not the place for rants about employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.
"Yelp reviews are required to describe a firsthand customer experience – not what someone read in the news," a company spokesperson said.