April 2011: The 5 Worst Video Media Disasters

It’s that time again…for the five worst video media disasters of the month!

April’s victims include a sleepy Vice President, a clueless politician, and one two three ridiculous CEO’s.

One favor before we begin: if you enjoy these cringeworthy moments as much as I do, would you please share them on Facebook and Twitter? Thank you. Okay, on with the list!

Oh the Horror!

Number 5: Joe Biden Falls Asleep

During arguably the most important speech President Obama has ever given on entitlement reform, Vice President Joe Biden appeared to fall asleep. As a result, many headlines about Obama’s speech included mention of Biden’s ill-timed snooze, once again robbing the president of his ideal headline.

It’s not the first time Biden has done that – it happened during the signing ceremony for health care reform, as well (see number seven here).

#4: Senator Jon Kyl’s Lame Excuse

Anyone can get a statistic wrong. So when Arizona Senator Jon Kyl mistakenly said that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s services were abortion-related (it’s actually 3%), all he had to do is apologize. Instead, his office claimed that the Senator’s remark was “not meant as a factual statement” – and that’s the moment this became a much, much bigger story. (Click here to see the full story, with a great clip from Stephen Colbert.)

#3: Mike Lazaridis, Founder, Research In Motion

As Sam Donaldson once said, “The questions don’t do the damage, only the answers do.”

During a BBC interview, RIM’s founder – the maker of the BlackBerry – abruptly cut off an interview when he didn’t like a question. His whining and complaining looked more like that of a cranky grade schooler than a corporate CEO. He should have been able to answer these questions with ease, but instead made the story bigger with his peeved responses.

#2: Dick Fleming, St. Louis Chamber of Commerce Head

As media avoidance strategies go, this one’s a beaut. Instead of speaking with the reporter about his salary, Dick Fleming, President and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA), decided to seek refuge in the back hallway of a hotel near a stack of milk crates. The full story is here. (2020 update: Video no longer available.)

#1: Bob Parsons, CEO, GoDaddy.com

The founder of GoDaddy.com released a video of himself killing an elephant during a recent trip to Africa. He posed over the dead elephant’s carcass with a self-satisfied grin, set the video’s soundtrack to AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells,” and blamed PETA for the fall-out.

Wait, there’s more. He threatened to sue bloggers who showed the video – even though he originally released the video himself. And he never did apologize, instead insisting he would murder elephants again. As a result of his bad behavior, Mr. Parsons lost thousands of customers, self included (see story here).

The original video is no longer available due to Parsons’ copyright claim; although this news clip will give you a good summary, the original was much, much more graphic.

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