Don’t Get Ugly! It’s Not Pretty.

In life, and especially in the TV and entertainment business, there is a lot of pressure to look good. Hair coiffed. CHECK. Makeup on. CHECK. Wardrobe. CHECK. Believe it or not, it doesn’t end there. There is also this thing called talent: As in skills. As in being acknowledged for your hard work and not just being another pretty face. Sure, this industry sometimes looks more like a model agency comp card, but it is also a business made up of hard working professionals who care about the work they do, the people they interact with and the stories they tell. Nothing good comes from abusing that privilege or throwing around credentials and insulting others in order to intimidate. You see where I’m going with this one?

Britt McHenry

Britt McHenry

You may know who she is. You may not. The sad thing is, ESPN reporter Britt McHenry thought she was a pretty big deal at the time her car was being towed. But after a video went viral of her practically bullying a parking lot attendant over the ordeal, suddenly Britt was a bigger deal. Just in a totally unattractive way. Britt got pretty ugly and that’s not a good look on anyone. And for a woman who is used to being “camera ready”, she certainly didn’t seem to care (at the time) that her insults were caught on video. She KNEW she was on video. The woman told her. Fast forward to McHenry bashing the employee’s appearance, job, home and education. Cue: giggles heard from the sidelines. Not good. Not good at all. By the way, did she fact check this person’s background? News Flash: It’s never a good thing for a journalist (or anyone, for that matter) to assume. But alas, the bigger upset here is this: words hurt, Britt.
“I’m on television, and you live in a f—king trailer, honey.” Ugh. Why did you have to go there?

So, as we awaited the anticipated public apology on Twitter that usually follows stories like this, ESPN slapped her with a suspension. That’ll teach her. Or will it?

The thing McHenry may have forgotten at the time of this altercation is that she has been given a rather kick ass opportunity. There are likely a number of people who would love to have that gig. The key word here is OPPORTUNITY. And of course, GRATITUDE. As in “thank you for this job and letting me do what I love every day.” And to top it all off, she pulled the me vs. you comparison with the attendant. In McHenry’s apology, she said she let her emotions get the best of her. Fine. We all go a little wackadoodle every once in a while, Britt. No autopsy. No foul. But, it’s not the rest of the world you owe an apology. However, there is one parking attendant somewhere in Washington that may appreciate a few kind words. Just sayin’.

McHenry’s choices were obviously not the best choices that day. Just one example of how this attitude just won’t cut it. I’ve been fortunate to work in the television and media industry since I was in college. And I’ve seen all kinds of attitudes and egos (both on and off the air). I also have the privilege to teach what I do as a college professor. And when something like this transpires, it propels me want to work harder to share with my students the importance of integrity.

There’s a lot of competition in this industry. But as it continues to grow and the digital age is rapidly moving us in a new direction, there’s one thing that sometimes is forgotten… there’s room for all of us. Yes, all of us. But there are a few things that will keep you ahead in the game… and working. Aside from your talents, your skills and constantly working on your brand and craft, it does boil down to a matter of attitude, gratitude and integrity.

This event, like many, is a reminder of respect. Respecting others, the space (job/opportunity) you are given to be creative and … most importantly YOURSELF. It is about building trusting relationships and treating everyone as if you can/will work with them again. You don’t have to love everyone but for goodness sake, be kind. I tell my students all the time, you never know if one day you’ll be on the hiring end of the table or vice versa, so respect each other and respect the space.

So as this story becomes yesterday’s news, let it be a reminder that no matter what you do, WHAT you DO is important and WHO you ARE is unique. Don’t let your job define you. Define your job by being the best you that you can be.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’” ~Maya Angelou

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About Hilary Russo

Host, Journalist, Spokesperson, Lifestyle & Design Expert: QVC Home/Garden Guest Host, Professor, Adventure Seeker & of course... Renaissance Woman - I'm a city girl with my pedal on the metal.
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4 Responses to Don’t Get Ugly! It’s Not Pretty.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great blog!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anyone in the media and sports industry is held to a higher standard. Right or wrong. Media personel, regardless of which arena they partake in, are there because they have a fan base. It is that fan base that keeps the personality employed. It is not uncommon for a personality to do something that advertisers find offensive and the advertiser’s can demand action be taken. Therefore, media personalities are being looked at from both sides of the microscope. It is the advertisers and the fans demand that keeps a personality employed. It is important for a personality to remember this when in public. The public is generally forgiving if a personality takes responsibility and apologizes quickly. But not always. When it comes to shaming of any person, the public views it much differently that, say a DWI. Personalities are human. And are subject to every fit of anger ro mistake anyone else can make. But, how they handle these mistakes determine their fate. This was a mean rant with insults. It was a prime example of bullying. A sincere lack of humility. Whether you feel personalities should be expected to be more than human or not, this was just mean spirited and shows an ugly spirit. I applaud ESPN for taking the action as fast they did, but firing this lady may not be the answer. It depends on her.

  3. Nina says:

    Let me start off by saying the behavior is inexcusable and does, as you said, reveal something very ugly about this woman. But it has begun to concern me lately how disproportionate the social media reaction to these caught-being-ugly videos/ tweets sometimes is. Your blog makes a thoughtful commentary on this, using it as an opportunity to stop and think about where the attitude comes from- and what kind of better attitude might do us all some good. That’s a great and helpful response to this, and a good take-away lesson that helps remove the bitter taste this video left in my mouth. However most of the commentary on this I’ve seen on social media has not been thoughtful and the opportunity it seems interested in is the opportunity to take shots at a woman (a woman many of them never heard of before this incident) and in so doing present themselves as better.
    I know what she said was atrocious. And that she knew she was being filmed. But it was five minutes of her life. While I’m not guilty of her particular kind of arrogance and cruelty I am sure there are things I have done and said that people would find offensive for other reasons. There are members of my family whom I love dearly but who… dear Lord, let’s just say I hope nobody ever films them. It concerns me that any “five minutes” caught on video lives forever now, and it particularly concerns me that the ones that are really damaging seem to get the most life.

  4. Great post, Hilary!

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