THE DEATH OF AMY WINEHOUSE
Amy Winehouse was one of the brightest musical stars of her generation although her personal life sometimes overshadowed the abilities she showed on hit albums Frank and Back To Black. We were called in to work with her in 2007 to successfully bring some order to a toxic situation which had seen her continually chased by paparazzi and dogged by untrue stories in newspapers. We handled drugs revelations, court appearances and almost endless enquiries, providing a representative to act in her interests and as a media contact point. Sadly, we also handled her tragic and unexpected death. At a particularly challenging time we were constantly at hand to represent – and provide counsel for – family and management, to minimise their distress, as well as providing the media with information and control the fall-out. We provided on the ground support at her funeral, to ensure the accuracy of reporting, and providing the same at her inquest. Beyond that, we oversaw the launch of the Amy Winehouse Foundation, brokering interview deals and handling publicity for her father’s book (which kickstarted the initial funding). Outside are proud to continue looking after the charity, the family and Amy’s legacy; whether it be demonstrating how the charity helps disadvantaged youths, highlighting the Winehouse family’s unease with the film documentary Amy or handling the annual fundraising gala in her honour.
Michael Jackson funeral/memorial
The eyes of a still-shocked world were on this event, making it the biggest international story of it’s time. International media swooped on the Staples Center in LA to see family, friends and fans pay their respects to Jackson following his sudden death – the largest gathering of live TV crews ever assembled. We drew on our vast experience to mount a slick media operation in the space of just two days, accommodating around 70 UK media outlets in unfamiliar terrain and fulfilling their needs in terms of live feeds. We also had to preserve the dignity of this occasion, with all the tact and sensitivity that demanded – rather than treating it as a showbiz event – ensuring all messaging and communications were managed with care. It was an operation taking place across time zones, so as well as our presence on the ground we also had a team working in London. We coordinated dozens of interviews with participants, performers and friends to give eyewitness accounts and exclusives to not only the media attending but those back home. Most importantly we ensured those who took part – who included a number of our own clients – were treated with respect throughout a long and demanding day.
Naomi Campbell “blood diamonds” hearing
Supermodel Naomi Campbell was at the centre of global scrutiny when she gave evidence at the War Crimes Tribunal for Sierra Leone in The Hague involving former Liberian president Charles Taylor. Naomi had already been a client for seven years and like all the parties concerned was determined that her presence should not deflect from the solemnity and seriousness of the proceedings. Despite the high interest – more than 300 journalists and a swathe of TV satellite crews – we ensured the focus did not stray from the seriousness of the hearings. We reinforced the point that Naomi was a witness attending voluntarily and was not accused of wrongdoing. After the ordeal of her testimony we stepped in to deal with further media inquiries and on-camera requests on her behalf; we briefed all major news organisations to alert them about our presence on the ground and set up a fully-manned press office in London to field further calls at that end. We worked with the court to ensure her arrival and departure caused minimal disruption, successfully avoiding a media circus which would detract from the gravity of the tribunal’s work. Meticulous preparations and liaison with Naomi and her legal team meant we were able to effectively deal with all enquiries and we were on hand to respond to points made by further witnesses in subsequent days. With our help she came through it with flying colours.