NEW YORK: When you are under fire for having suspicious-sounding ties to a religious group that thinks aliens created the Earth, you need PR help.
That is what Richard Leibner, president of news talent agency N.S. Bienstock, was thinking when he employed Goodman Media to help his client, Dr. Michael Guillen, communicate with the public.
Guillen is the freelance journalist, formerly science editor at ABC News, who had organized a team of specialists to review Clonaid's claim that it has cloned a human being. The PR agency was initially brought in to assist Guillen in preparing for a press conference. At the event, Guillen was meant to reveal the experts and their findings.
All that changed when Brigitte Brosselier, CEO of the Las Vegas-based cloning company, released a statement rescinding her promise to give the team access to DNA samples. Brosselier's refusal resulted in speculation that the announcement was a fabricated hoax to gain publicity for the Raelian religious sect with which Clonaid is affiliated.
Tom Goodman, president of his eponymous firm and former head of PR for CBS, said when the public learned it was not going to get an answer, the focus turned to Guillen's intentions. Questions arose concerning his refusal to talk to the press for more than a week. Citing lack of time as the only reason Guillen had been quiet, Goodman said, "We're getting him out in front of the media now to show people that he has nothing to hide."
The journalist has already made appearances on Good Morning America and Connie Chung Tonight.
Guillen was second-guessed further when rumors swarmed that he was going to be directly involved in the DNA testing.
"We are working to make Dr. Guillen's involvement as transparent as possible," reported Goodman. "The message has to get out that he'd be an unbiased and independent observer."