On May 11th, Paris Hilton was convicted to serve a 45-day prison sentence for violating the terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.
In court, she argued that she doesn’t read her mail, and just signs what people tell her to sign.
Her publicist Elliot Mintz testified in court that he gave her wrong advise about the status of her suspended driver’s license.
Paris promptly fired him but rehired him on Monday.
What is needed is sound crisis management.
Paris hasn’t quite grasped that yet, judging by her reaction after the court session.
"I feel that I was treated unfairly and that the sentence is both cruel and unwarranted and I don't deserve this," and promptly went off with her mother to shop.
She used her blog on MySpace to promote a petition to prevent her from going to jail.She wrote on her blog:
"My friend Joshua started this petition, please help and sihn (the PH version of "sign") it. i LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!"
The petition reads:
"Paris Whitney Hilton is an American celebrity and socialite.
She is an heiress to a share of the Hilton Hotel fortune, as well as to the real estate fortune of her father Richard Hilton.
She provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world.
She provides beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives."
It contunues with:
"We, the American public who support Paris, are shocked, dismayed and appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that Drunk Driving is wrong...
This petition is to ask Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to pardon Paris Hilton for her mistake. Please allow her to her return to her career and life."
How will this impact Hilton in the future?According to veteran publicist David Brokaw, she can only benefit.
Longtime publicist Michael Levine agrees.
He is convinced that it will actually increase her star appeal, since it’s seen as another very compelling plot line in the Paris Hilton soap opera.
Serving jail time harmed some stars but didn’t impact the careers of others.
Martha Stewart started a TV show after she served time; Robert Downey Jr. landed a recurring TV role that enabled him to be back on the big screen.
Bobby Brown and Heidi Fleiss on the other hand didn’t fare so well after prison time.Hilton is playing a dangerous game by banking on her star appeal and her attitude that rules don't apply to her.It will be interesting to see how her sponsors and charities (Operation Smile, City of Hope, Los Angeles Junior League) will react in the coming months.Especially her sponsor Spyker has a problem – Paris was supposed to drive a Spyker C8 during the Bullrun race from 11-18 May.
And what about her promotion deal for Rich Prosecco, a canned sparkling wine?
I am not sure how the rehired Mintz is going to handle it, but I would suggest that Hilton starts apologizing, followed by volunteering in a project dealing with (the families of) DUI victims.
If she is considering penning a novel on her experience behind Swedish curtains, I strongly advise to stay away from that one.
She might see the inside of the courtroom again – this time by violating the "Son of Sam" law.
Paris filed an appeal against her sentence – it will be interesting to see how she and her team will handle her PR leading up to event.