Hong Kong

Hong Kong, which is cracking down on freedom of the press and the right of its people to express themselves, has finally found a firm to handle its $6.2M “relaunch” business.

It’s the old gang from Bell Pottinger, the firm that imploded after running a racist 2017 PR campaign in South Africa.

Consulum, which also does work for Saudi Arabia, is to develop a communications strategy to “highlight Hong Kong’s recovery and help rebuild confidence in Hong Kong as a place to invest, do business, work and live.”

Good luck with that.

Hong Kong on June 30 published its new national security law, which puts it under the thumb of the Communist rulers in Beijing.

The law was released on the 23rd anniversary of the British “handover” of the city to China.

Hong Kong is now required to beef up security and oversight of "schools, civic organizations, media, Internet and the use of these platforms to educate local residents on matters related to national security,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Consulum’s contract also calls for crisis communications duties. It will have its hands full. The best strategy for Hong Kong is to ditch the whole PR charade. The relaunch from democracy to direct rule from Beijing is not a PR selling point.

Happy days are here again: We’re bankrupt. The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred a wave of corporate bankruptcies, which are running at their fastest pace since 2013.

Corporate PR people, though, are putting the best spin on things. After reading headlines of Chapter 11 press releases, one would think things are going quite well in the business world.

CEC Entertainment, the home of Chuck E. Cheese, patted itself on the back for going bust.  Here’s the headline: “CEC Entertainment Takes Decisive Action to Strengthen Balance Sheet, Best Position Company for Long-Term Success Through Voluntary Chapter 11 Process.”

Management conveniently blamedthe financial strain resulting from prolonged, COVID-19 related venue closures” for CEC’s downfall. ‘

But Team Chuck E. wasn’t doing so hot before the virus. The company suffered a $26.1M fourth-quarter 2019 loss on $209.8M revenues. For the entire year, it lost $28.9M on $912.9M revenues.

Montreal-based Cirque Du Soleil didn’t even mention Chapter 11 in the headline. It opted for the sunny “Cirque Du Soleil Entertainment Group Announces Comprehensive Plan to Restart Business.”

Unfortunately, that restart won’t include the 3,480 employees who were furloughed in March following the government-mandated shutdown of the circus.

Graciously, Cirque Du Soleil has now given the boot to those former workers so they can receive unemployment compensation.

In another PR move, Cirque Du Soleil management says it will ask potential bidders for the company to specify the fate of the fired workers and about maintaining operations in Quebec.

Those are meaningless words from a company that just fired thousands of people.

Hats off to Donald Trump’s favorite Fox News co-anchor for telling the president to mask his mug.

Steve Doocy of Trump’s must-see “Fox and Friends” said June 30 that president could set a good example to the country by wearing a mask. “I don’t see any downside to the president wearing a mask in public,” he said.

And the kicker: Doocy said MAGA should stand for “Masks Are Great Again.” Brilliant.

Doocy, though, mistakenly assumes that Trump is concerned about setting an example, good, bad or indifferent. He doesn’t care two figs about what people think. It's all about Trump 24/7, and if he feels wearing a mask is a sign of weakness, he won’t wear one.

As Trump wallows in stubbornness, the EU has taken action against the maskless US, agreeing to ban us from visiting.

And why not? The US has more COVID-19 cases and deaths than anywhere else in the world. While new cases are on the decline in Europe, they are on the upswing in the US.

Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress on June 30 that new COVID-19 cases could soar from 40,000 per-day to 100.000, if we don’t turn things around. “I am very concerned because it could get very bad.” said the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Fauci said. “Clearly we are not in total control right now.”

Wear a mask, Donald.