Posted December 10, 2008 6:28 am by with 21 comments

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Jon Favreau Gropes ClintonBarack Obama’s chief speech writer Jon Favreau is in hot water after racy photos of him fondling a cardboard cut out of Hillary Clinton were found on the popular networking site Facebook. Reports indicated that the photos only stayed on the site for a few hours. However, this was just enough time for them to be picked up and circulated across the net.

Members of the Obama transition team have stated that Favreau has already reached out to Clinton to apologize. However, that might not be enough to quiet the surge from the feminist blogoshpere.

The crazy thing about all this is that it appears that there were steps taken to prevent this catastrophe. Several questions should have caught this dead in its tracks.

Question No. 58 in the transition team vetting document for the Obama White House asks that applicants: “Please provide the URL address of any websites that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity (e.g. Facebook, My Space, etc.)”

Question No. 63 asks that applicants “please provide any other information … that could … be a possible source of embarrassment to you, your family, or the President-Elect.”

It looks like the Obama team was trying to do it’s job to minimize the likelihood that these kind of things come to light, but why wasn’t Favreau? It looks like he could use a ticket to Andy’s Online Reputation Management Workshop.

  • John B Sheffield

    What a Petty attack and non-story, this is not an attempt to undermine a very talented young guy in Jon Favreau who I have known and followed since he first started working with John Kerry, it is a pure attack against our President Elect Barack Obama and a childish attempt to Try and damage the Administration even before it takes office.

    Voters on Main Street are more worried about the problems they face this Christmas and their concerns with debts and losing their jobs, not trying to score little points, some people need to grow up!

  • John,

    If you truly believe that the current situation we are in is because of our past US leadership then you better have the guts to call the new administration and its people to the mat right out of the gate. Checked out the current state of politics in the president-elect’s backyard (Illinois governor mess)?. Makes one wonder where Obama was while this was taking place.

    Look, I hope things get better but if there is an underlying attitude like the one Favreau holds in the new administration then I have to say that I should question his ability to be any part of the leadership team of our country. Some of us on Main Street actually see this kind of stuff as a disgrace and not funny at all.

    Here’s a funny thought. The first time this joker meets the Secretary of State following this photo. Oh to be a fly on the wall for that one!

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Your Thoughts Please?

  • @John @Frank

    This has nothing to do with Barack Obama’s future administration or the quality of character of Jon Favreau. This blog has become the best resource for information regarding Online Reputation Management. Therefore this is a very relevant place to discuss this story. It is in no way an attack, but rather a honest observation of this unfortunate choice of Mr. Favreau’s part. Please do not confuse politics with the topic of this blog.

    In the tone of full disclosure: I have been an ardent supporter of the Obama’s campaign and future administration, both online and off.

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Backlink Analysis Made Simple and Fun!

  • I agree with Joe. This is a great example of the importance of managing your online reputation. We live in a giant goldfish bowl and face a level of transparency never before seen. We’ve covered similar stories in the past and will continue to cover those that we feel hold a valuable lesson.

  • This is crazy man. I belong to India and here we believe in respecting older people. Mrs. Clinton is far older than that young speech writer. What kind of speech would you expect from that kind of person. Even if he writes well, heart touching, people will think that all the notes are fake.

    It takes years to earn reputation and a second to loose it. That guy is just an example. God bless him.

    Bapun’s last blog post..Top Blogging Secrets To Success

  • I’m part of the “feminist surge” who found your Web site through a Google news search. First, you should understand that the problem with the photo isn’t that it’s “racy.” Favreau isn’t groping the cutout because he’s attracted to Clinton; he’s doing it as a put-down.

    Surely you understand that the reputation management should have started BEFORE the incident occurred. In other words, who allowed the atmosphere of the campaign to get to the point that this was OK? (To anticipate responses: I’m a former journalist who has been to some wild parties, but I still can’t imagine how the chief speech writer for a presidential candidate would have thought this was OK, especially with women staffers present.)

    This has now become an issue of reputation management for Obama.

  • I am totally agree with you.

  • Where is everyone’s sense of humor? What great sin has Jon Favreau committed that he needs to attend a course in reputation management? I think that this is a non issue being blown out of all proportion. I bet Senator Clinton would agree.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Offbeat Gift Ideas

  • @Suzie – Excellent point.

    Joe Hall’s last blog post..Backlink Analysis Made Simple and Fun!

  • Wow!! This conversation got rather heated rather quickly.. hmm. Think I’ll try keep my opinions on the pseudo political aspect of this to myself…
    Returning, however, to the point of the article, yeah.. As I think was implied, great care has to be taken, especially when you’re in a position like Jon Favreau you have to be extra careful about what you do in your personal life, as well as how public you make your personal life.. The moral or political implications of the actions have no bearing on the discussion here.. Mr Favreau, and Obama’s entire public relations team, should have seen the possibility of something like this coming and put measures in place to prevent it or at least minimize the damage caused by it

  • What should be interesting for us to watch is where this “event” shows up in the SERP’s. If you do a search for Jon Favreau in Google the first three results go to the actor/director/producer of the same name. These were followed by a news result with the picture of the speechwriter in action.

    If you go the news result from the Kansas City Star you can see where the ORM side of this gets real dicey, real fast. First, there’s the mention that Favreau is 27 years old and writing speeches to represent the free world which is interesting in it’s own right. It’s the commentary though that could be an ORM nightmare. It says at the end of the blurb that the speech on the Jan. 20, 2009 should be a doozy. What should be a historic event now has this completely unneeded stupidity attached to it.

    Man, “You better watch out ..” no longer just applies to Santa Claus coming to town. If you are not careful the fishbowl that Andy referred to can get polluted real fast.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Your Thoughts Please?

  • @Joe

    I appreciate that your post has nothing to do with the politics of that matter directly but the opinions of John and myself are the result of this type of ORM screw up and good indicators of what might happen elsewhere on the net.

    Reality is also that if you bring this to the front as news it is adding to the ORM ‘magnitude’ so you need to be prepared as well for this kind of reaction.

    Frank Reed’s last blog post..Your Thoughts Please?

  • Dang he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. lol. You’re not in the frat house anymore, that kindof stuff just doesn’t fly. This is politics and every move you make matters.

  • It does suck he got caught, but he needs to be more careful now that he is in the spotlight. It is petty, but when you are in public office, that is how it goes.

    Patrick’s last blog post..Bush Administration Puts Engangered Species Act At Risk

  • @Patrick – I think you summed it up perfectly. It is what it is and Favreau should have known the rules of the game.

  • While it is petty that someone could try to use this against Obama by association, it’s an incredibly stupid thing to do if someone wants to advance their political career… I’m surprised I never heard about this until now though.

    drivelocity’s last blog post..Black and Decker Thermal Leak Detector

  • JT

    They just making fun of it, what’s wrong with that.

    JT’s last blog post..Zen and PPC campaigns

  • I don’t really think the photos mean anything except for a disrespect for clinton, kinda points to how stupid this guy is though which should maybe bring some doubt on him to as what kind of person he is.

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  • John Collins

    For Favreau to show public disrespect for our next Secretary of State, and for the President-elect to not call him on it, is a sexist insult towards not just Hillary Clinton, but toward all women. As with racism, everyone loses when sexism is tolerated and excused.

    Favreau should be fired, not edified.

  • Respect 4 All

    Favreau’s behavior has broader implications. The Facebook incident is not just about how frat boys in the US see things. This is about how diplomats, national leaders — and ordinary Middle East citizens see our new Secretary of State and the new President who appointed her but allows his own White House chief of speechwriters to publicly insult her.