|February 24, 2009|
|Killeen, Furtney Should Have Known Better|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|It’s been more than a week since Killeen Furtney Group decided to dump “Octomom” as a pro bono client. Enough time has passed to ask the question, “What in the world was KFG thinking when it decided to represent Nadya Suleman?” |
The husband and wife team of Joann Killeen and Mike Furtney exhibited incredible naivete in agreeing to jump into the media carnival atmosphere surrounding Suleman. Killeen and Furtney are not exactly babes in the PR woods. One rose to the top of the Public Relations Society of America, while the other held a key post at Union Pacific. They are still receiving death threats and hate mail for their connection with Suleman.
The 33-year-old single mom already had six kids. She was living with her mother and supporting the brood via disability payments, loans and food stamps. How did KFG expect to drum up goodwill and financial support for the newly minted family of 15 during these depressed times? As Bill Clinton’s staff used to say during the '92 presidential run, “It’s the economy, stupid.”
Killeen nailed it during an exclusive interview -- given with Furtney -- to the Whittier Daily News. She said seventy percent of the massive amount of negative feedback (e.g., nearly 90,000 emails, thousands of phone calls and death threats) say the same thing.
Killeen told WDN:
“People are really angry. They are mad about the economy. They are mad their homes aren't worth what their mortgages are. They're mad they lost their 401K. They're really disappointed in the government because they pay their taxes and they've been a good citizen. They've controlled the number of children they can afford to have and feel that, based on their perceptions of reading everything, they've jumped to shame-and-blame and judgment kind of comments about Nadya and that she has, according to them, milked the system - figured out a way to leverage the system so she can stay home and overpopulate the world.” [The WDN has posted the full transcript of the Feb. 20 interview on its website.]
Nobody deserves death threats for PR representation. That is flat out wrong and certainly illegal. Killeen, however, surely got it right about why so many are fuming over Suleman. Personal responsibility is supposed to be “in” during the days of Barack Obama. The care of six kids was already a tall order. Killeen and Furtney should have looked at the world beyond the protective bubble of Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Medical Center, where Suleman reportedly wondered what all the fuss was about. "I'm just a mom. I'm just a mom," she supposedly said.
Killeen says four crisis firms were interviewed by Suleman. The trio of "losers" are lucky ducks.
My prayers go to all of the Suleman kids, hoping they live rich and full lives wherever they wind up. I’ll also say a rosary or two for Nadya.
(Photo: NBC via WDTN)
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