Colleen Campbell always wanted to be famous. Infamous? That’s a different story.
Hands up from anyone in the audience who imbibes from time to time and hasn’t said or done something incredibly stupid while holding hands with Jack, Jose or Johnny.
If you’re on speaking terms with alcohol, you’ve been there. Even if it was in those tender years of understanding the buzz factor, you’ve done or said something you regret when under the influence. Humans have frailties. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.
Wonderful cliches. But when it comes to being a responsible member of adult society, they all apply with a caveat.
BOOZE IT AND LOSE IT
If you do something spectacularly stupid when dancing with alcohol, you best be prepared to take the consequences. Because this is no longer the 60’s, where you can get away with a drunken late night episode even if people hear about it. That’s because cell phone and surveillance cameras are rolling everywhere around you, 24/7, without fail.
People are watching and waiting, eager to slap that “RECORD” button and nail something they can share with the rest of the world. It’s given people a sense of power, one that will allow them to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame while either succeeding in doing their civic duty to report transgressions, or getting a gaggle of giggles while they ruin a complete stranger’s life. And if you happen to enjoy a level of public notoriety, such as the man who once ruled the TV airwaves as “Judge Joe Brown”, you need to be a Hell of a lot smarter than being a drunken jackass in public and enjoying the attention.
Your job, famous or not, is to take every precaution to ensure no one is granted that opportunity to destroy your personal or professional life. And you do that by being responsible.
Which brings us to Colleen Campbell and her very public “I’M OUTTA HERE” drunken moment that will haunt her for the rest of her life.
The video of Campbell’s personal and professional implosion is difficult to watch, when you consider something this woman has worked for is now burned toast. It also sets a new standard for most often and inventive use of profane language. It goes without saying this is NOT safe for work, being played aloud near impressionable children or animals, or as background music in a church setting.
A few years after this, Campbell broke all the odds and actually got another job in television. However, she went from one of the to 5 markets in America to a lower tier station in West Virginia. The station bio, as of this writing in May 2020, had no mention at all of her former life, of course.
But for the rest of time, Campbell will be know as the loud mouthed drunk who blew her big chance. To most of the broadcast world, she remains toxic. No one would want to take a chance that the next time she gets hammered, it will snap back on them and impact ratings. Which will impact their cash flow.
It’s all about the benjamins.
WPHL in Philadelphia wasted no time reacting to the video as noted in the article link. Campbell later commented on the incident, and if you pay close attention, it will be obvious what is missing from her interview.
THE LOST OPPORTUNITY
Campbell says “I wanna apologize to the officer”. More evidence Campbell is neither responsible, accountable, or with a lick of concern about her image. Her first chance to comment, and no apology to anyone. “I wanna” doesn’t qualify as an adult statement. It sounds more like the words of a 15 year old.
First words out of her mouth should have been apologies to all. To the officer. To her former station. To her former coworkers. To her family. EVERYONE. Instead, she used the interview as little more than a way to try and justify what happened. A miserable fail.
Campbell’s disastrous 24 hours amplified when the police report was revealed, and it turns out she will also be accused of assaulting the arresting officer.
Every time I think I’ve witnessed THE epic image fail, it doesn’t take long for someone to go a step further. Colleen Campbell’s step past “epic fail” is Grand Canyon-esque in it’s size and scope.
We are fond of saying that everyone deserves a second chance, and certainly people that have done far worse are afforded those second, third and even multiple opportunities to make amends. Colleen Campbell may be a nice and caring person in her personal life, but what she has put on display for the world to see and never forget thanks to social media earns her no second shots when it comes to her professional life.
As someone that has worked in the broadcast news industry for more than 30 years, Campbell insults my profession and those hard working people who muscle through the muck every day. She should never be hired for any broadcasting job ever again. And save for hosting some ridiculous reality show or appearing in public service commercials for returning to the days when babies had their mouths washed out with lye soap for being profane or refusing to behave, Campbell has negated any good will or forgiveness.
THE COLLEEN CAMPBELL CASE: “FIVE FINGERS OF REALITY”
- CAMERAS ARE EVERYWHERE: And people will use them for no other reason than to capture something than to share with friends, say “Can you believe what I just saw?”, or to post on You Tube and other forms of social media for personal gratification. They are using your downfall and mistakes as a gag, and people will be laughing at you. Forever.
- THE INTERNET ENSURES NOTHING EVER DISAPPEARS: Campbell’s obscene rant will outlive us all. It will be clicked on well past the time this story has faded. Which means she will be forever a target of derision.
- EMPLOYERS AND PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYERS USE THE WEB FOR RESEARCH: Every time you apply for a job, someone in that office will Google your name. As of this writing, the Campbell video has more than 3 million hits. Google her name and more than 10 million results come up in less than a second. No self-respecting employer in the broadcast industry will ever hire her. For that matter, neither will any company that understands the need for their people to project a positive image for themselves AND the company.
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AND APOLOGIZE: Within 24 hours of the story breaking, Campbell was seeking to excuse her actions by claiming she may have been drugged. Certainly, it’s possible. But not likely. She has apologized to no one and is seeking to hide behind phantom excuses. Her integrity is forever shot. Why should anyone believe what she says about anything?
- SHUT UP AND DISAPPEAR: The best thing to do in a case like this is make a statement apologizing to everyone and then snap the trap. Let the furor die down. Go undercover. Get UNDER the covers, if you have to. Your image is shot. Your integrity is in tatters. You’ve been caught being a complete jackass. Time won’t heal all wounds in a case such as this, but you need to ensure there is no more ammunition.
Colleen Campbell did this to herself. She has no one else to blame. The responsibility for her arrest, her firing, and her global ridicule rests on her irresponsible shoulders. Wish her luck in life, because she’s going to need it. She may even be able to turn this around into a positive somewhere down the road, and for that she could be applauded.
But at this moment, Campbell is an abject lesson in missing everything “The Undefeated Image” Leadership program teaches. Which leaves us with a common conclusion.
Don’t throw away your image or your career. Don’t be like Colleen Campbell.