Even-keeled public image and shifting media conversation will help Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel weather the controversy over their homeless wedding video, crisis management expert says
The video that leaked following Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel's wedding — which featured several homeless people wishing the happy couple good luck — might have been in poor taste. But it's not likely to tarnish the "SexyBack" singer or the "Valentine's Day" actress' careers, a crisis management expert told TheWrap on Thursday.
Bobby Zafarnia, president of boutique crisis management and public relations agency Praecere Interactive, told TheWrap that, current controversy aside, the couple are not likely to suffer any blowback from the incident.
The couple's biggest insulation from the scandal — which began to spread when a video shown at the wedding, featuring several homeless people wishing the couple well, was published on Gawker — is the reputation they've previously established as generally normal people who happen to be famous, Zafarnia said.
"They haven't had any sort of public meltdown; they're both pretty even-keeled. In that sense, it gets them some good will," he said. "They've built up a lot of good will by being pretty level-headed folks."
Also working in the couple's favor is that the video, according to reports, was made by a Timberlake friend, real-estate agent Justin Huchel.
"That makes a big difference," Zafarnia said," because that means that Timberlake or Biel were not responsible for the video."
Already, he noted, the conversation is moving away from the newlyweds and toward Huchel — specifically, the legal back-and-forth between Huchel's attorney, Michael J. Saltz and Gawker. The snark-heavy site published the video — which has since been pulled — along with a communication from Saltz, threatening legal action against the site if the video was published.
Neither Timberlake nor Biel have commented on the video — which is probably wise, Zafarnia said.
"If I were advising them, as long as the attention seems to be gravitating to the person who made the video and the legal drama," it's best not to say anything, he said.
While the Twitterverse might currently be reverberating with the outrage of fans and haters alike, it appears that Timberlake and Biel might be singing, "Bye, bye, bye" to the scandal before too long.
Watch the video that launched the controversy below.