By Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
The hilarious YouTube Prank which saw notorious Anti-Vaxxer Piers Corbyn apparently taking bribes to stop attacking the AstraZeneca vaccine (AZ) should be reputation destroying, so I’m keen to see how the anti-vax lobby spins this one.
In case you missed it, you can watch the ripsnorter of a sting here.
Posing as AZ investors, YouTubers Josh Pieters and Archie Manners offered Corbyn a £10,000 donation to change his anti-vax messaging to focus on the dangers of Pfizer and Moderna and downplay AZ. Corbyn appears to volunteer changes to his script that might be acceptable to help his benefactors – along with his deranged take on mRNA vaccines in general.
It’s not just Corbyn’s reputation on the line here, he’s actually disposable, but the anti-vax lobby needs to discredit the video, and the YouTubers, urgently.
I’m fascinated to see how they’ll do it – and I can only see two options in their playbook.
Option one: Claim it’s a fake, the video has been heavily edited and taken out of context. Corbyn is the innocent victim because he was pressured into appearing based on lies from the duo.
Option two: Claim Corbyn is the victim because he has serious mental health issues, has been nearly bankrupted by his crusade for the public good, and this evil duo took advantage of him at the lowest point in his life when he had just been diagnosed with an (undisclosed) ‘Serious Health Issue’. This sounds harsh but the only way this will work is if he is dramatically hospitalised in the next few days.
I’m going with option one, it was the one used by leading Gun Rights activist Dan Roberts when British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen persuaded him to suck a sex toy on camera.
Option two can always be the backup plan when option one fails. We saw that play out with Anthony Weiner during his ‘Weiner pics’ scandal after initially claiming his account was hacked.
Both options are totally lame – but remember they only have to speak to Corbyn’s ‘true believers’. Like most high profile reputational crises, this is ultimately about keeping supporters, and potentially funding, and less to do with the public good. So all that’s needed is a reason to keep believing.
It will be an interesting few days. Unless you’re Piers Corbyn.
If you're keen to make sure your crisis team can handle a scenario like this drop me a line.
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