Sotheby’s drafted Parker for Dispatches defence

Brunswick’s Alan Parker was secretly drafted in by Sotheby’s to give crisis management advice in response to TV allegations about its staff being involved in art smuggling.

Brunswick’s Alan Parker was secretly drafted in by Sotheby’s to

give crisis management advice in response to TV allegations about its

staff being involved in art smuggling.



Parker confirmed that Brunswick advised Sotheby’s and that he was a

member of the team. But he wouldn’t discuss any other details about the

difficult job, which saw the media have a field day reporting the

suspensions of Sotheby’s staff who were allegedly involved in illegal

smuggling.



Luke Rittner, Sotheby’s head of communications, said: ’We would normally

handle such a matter internally but on this occasion we are happy to

confirm we used Alan.’



It is believed Parker was drafted in by Sotheby’s about ten days before

the Dispatches programme was broadcast on Channel 4 last Thursday.



But he wasn’t the only crisis management specialist to be

approached.



John Stonborough told PR Week that he had received a call from Sotheby’s

on the morning of transmission. ’I told them there was nothing I could

do as it was already up and running,’ he said.



eight on the morning of transmission, when the media were already full

of it.’



Stoneborough said: ’I told them there was nothing I could do as it was

already up and running.



’It’s rather a pity they allowed themselves to be so beautifully

ambushed, because they had known about this programme for some

time’.



Sotheby’s European managing director George Bailey was given the task of

facing up to the media. He hit out at Channel 4’s secret filming and

’entrapment’ techniques. However, Channel 4 press spokesman Martin Stott

defended the programme: ’According to the ITC Code, we can only use

secret filming when it is necessary to authenticate a story, and only

with approval at the highest level, he said.



’We refute any suggestion of entrapment, the employee was filmed saying

things which we believe would have been said to others - we did not put

a sack of cash in front of him and demand that the painting be smuggled

immediately.’



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