Viacom responds to Redstone gaffe

NEW YORK: Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone was called out this week, as a voicemail he left for TheDailyBeast.com reporter Peter Lauria was made public.

NEW YORK: Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone was called out this week, as a voice mail he left for TheDailyBeast.com reporter Peter Lauria was made public.

In it, Redstone requests the name of an anonymous source for a recent story by Lauria that was critical of Redstone and a specific girl-band project for Viacom network MTV. In the voicemail, Redstone also offered to keep the reporter "well-rewarded and well-protected."

The corporate communications team for Viacom responded to media requests and worked to minimize the situation, with Carl Folta, EVP of corporate communications, quoted in various media outlets. The media outreach emphasized the fact that there was no investigation from Viacom into the source for the story.

The communications was about "making sure people understand and appreciate Mr. Redstone's accomplishments and that this brief moment of embarrassment was just that, and not a reflection on him or his accomplishments over time," Folta told PRWeek.

Folta responded to media requests and, while the corporate communications team monitored social media to see the public's response, it focused on traditional media relations, and not adding fuel to the fire.

Additionally, the launch of the highly-anticipated second season of MTV's Jersey Shore, set for July 29, may help the company, as Viacom and its MTV network will be promoting the program.

Viacom is a company "with lots of high-profile programming and events, and that quickly moves in to take the spotlight off of what was clearly an 'oops moment,'" Folta explained.

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