Harkin claims it's 'business as usual' at RJH

RJH founder Murray Harkin put on a brave face this week and

proclaimed that despite his agency's very public trouble it was

'business as usual'.



As speculation grew that tapes of him talking unguardedly to an

undercover reporter would emerge in this Sunday's tabloids, Harkin broke

his media silence to speak exclusively to PRWeek.



He said: 'There's a lot of froth in the media, but nothing in the last

week has distracted us from the business in hand.'



Last week's Sunday papers ran stories based on comments made by business

partner Sophie Wessex to the News of the World's Mazher Mahmood. She

reportedly described Tony Blair as 'too presidential,' William Hague as

'deformed,' and Cherie Blair as 'horrid, horrid, horrid'.



Agency staff are now braced for further embarrassing stories based on

comments made by Harkin, also caught on Mahmood's tape. When asked

whether he would sue if accused of any illegality, Harkin said: 'Our

lawyers will be watching very closely.'



The agency MD sought to play down rumours that material set for

publication this weekend may prove so damaging as to force Wessex to

leave the firm. 'This is our business and Sophie is 100 per cent

committed to it,' he insisted.



PR guru Max Clifford said last week's material was 'just the tip of the

iceberg'.



A source within the agency said that contrary to claims that the

business has suffered recent losses, RJH is set to report a 40 per cent

leap in fees and profits in the last 12 months.



Behind the Headlines, p4.



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