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Whiny PR train-wrecks

Whiny PR train-wrecks — Heather Mills and Terry McMillan don’t win any sympathy for their misguided pleas for attention

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You know when your mom taught you that if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all? Two public figures recently ignored all maternal advice, silenced their inner editors, and took to the Internet to air their grievances. In the process, they unwittingly found themselves at the center of two very avoidable PR disasters. On Nov. 11, Michele Elyzabeth, the French-accented pub-lee-ceest of media pariah Heather Mills, created a blog because ”I’m sick and tired of hearing all these lies!” In two video diatribes ostensibly posted to combat rumors about Mills, she also managed to promote her line of champagne and trash Barbara Walters and Joy Behar because they’d criticized her client on The View. The result is an irresistibly watchable madness that only manages to further tarnish Mills’ reputation. It’s honorable to want to set the record straight, but only if you can do it in a way that doesn’t invite parody; the best way to get people to stop talking about you, really, is to just disappear for a while — or at least learn to laugh at your own foibles without dragging down others.

But Elyzabeth doesn’t seem to have grasped that concept, and neither has author Terry McMillan, who participated in a lengthy online interview with Uneq Magazine that was apparently intended to challenge the contents of a new book by ex-husband Jonathan Plummer. (You’ll remember Plummer as the inspiration for McMillan’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back.) The former spouses, who have sparred since Plummer announced he was gay and McMillan accused him of stealing some money, already covered the same territory in an infamous November 2005 dustup on The Oprah Winfrey Show. McMillan has a fair amount of goodwill and a sizable fan base. As such, this new interview is agonizing, especially when the author claims that she stares down gay black men on the street because she thinks that they don’t want to make eye contact with black women. These off-the-cuff remarks are pointlessly bilious and highlight the need for McMillan to avoid more of this self-defeating behavior, which is hard to hide in a forum as public as the Internet. Perhaps she just needs a new publicist. And if that’s the case, we know exactly whom she shouldn’t call.

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