On April 8th, Rolling Stone released the cover of their next issue, which featured a naked Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with the Constitution of the United States tattooed down her back. Given that she’s currently experiencing success with her TV show Veep, it was an interesting way to represent the political aspect of her show. There was only one problem with the execution of this idea…


…John Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution, he signed the Declaration of Independence. Rather a basic snafu that led to headlines such as:

The Rolling Stone twitter account hasn’t addressed this issue, however, Louis-Dreyfus has taken it and run with it. Being a Comedian, the former Seinfeld star decided to address the issue through her medium – comedy. Her initial tweet after the mistake was pointed out was to blame the mistake on one of the other characters on her show

Then, she posted a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) picture to state that it wasn’t actually Hancock’s signature that was showing, but an elaborate birthmark.

These responses from Louis-Dreyfus have definitely taken the sting out of the criticism, and it’s now pretty much a non-story.
What can you take out of this? Well, primarily, if you make a mistake, it’s a good idea to own up to it. Don’t try and defend something that you know is wrong, because you’re just going to dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. Acknowledge that you’re human and you made a mistake. You should play to your strengths with your mea culpa, humor may not be the best option for your situation, but as long as you know your audience, you can tailor your response appropriately, and minimize the damage to your reputation.

…and for more advice you should probably buy Andy’s book 😉

About Simon Heseltine

Simon Heseltine is currently the Senior Director of Audience Development for AOL Inc. 

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