For anyone who works in media, it’s no secret that public relations people use increasingly aggressive tactics to promote their products or services — which are more often than not tone deaf in regards to the outlet they happen to be soliciting to. This very website typically receives pitches in the dozens on a daily basis that have little or nothing to do with the content we publish. It’s likely that the people sending them have never bothered to check out the site to see if the coverage is in line with the product they’re promoting.
But how far would a PR rep go to push their content? Taylor Lorenz, a journalist for The Hill and former tech reporter for Mic, detailed an insidiously slimy encounter — and an ongoing one at that — with a PR rep from an apparel company who harassed her over a period of several months and went so far as to threaten her with fake nude photos if she refused to write about their products. Not the least of the issue here is that said “products” happen to be cosplay and Halloween costumes, which are clearly not her forte.
Lorenz detailed the harassment on Twitter on Tuesday, providing screenshots of the offending emails.
Esquire writer Luke O’Neil took Lorenz up on her plea for help and reached out to the company, which eventually responded that the employee responsible for the harassment had been fired from his job, and that their company respects women (alot) [sic], for what it’s worth.
Thinking face emoji, indeed. If this kind of behavior has been going on for as long as it has, and Lorenz is not the only victim, it seems highly unlikely that one email would bring a stop to the abuse. But unfortunately if the company is located outside of the United States, it seems unlikely that it will ever be held responsible for sexual harassment or extortion charges so for the meantime negative exposure might be the only option.