×

Hollywood PR Trio Launches Reputation-Management Cyber Firm to Vet Celebrities, Corporate Giants

A group of well-known Hollywood communications experts have formed a new company that Kevin Hart and James Gunn would have likely run to a year ago.

Paul Pflug, Melissa Zukerman, and Hans-Dieter Kopal of Principal Communications have teamed with leading cyber research and security firm Edgeworth to form Foresight Solutions Group — a “reputation-management” entity that will use advanced technology, former FBI data analysts, and old fashioned crisis-management skills to advise individuals and companies in an age where old tweets can bring down an Oscar host or jeopardize a billion-dollar superhero franchise.

“We feel there’s a huge void facing our industry,” Zuckerman told Variety. “It’s an industry under siege from the duality of both absolute intolerance from harassment and bias, and new and improved expectations surrounding decorum and advocacy and diversity.”

In sum, Hollywood and its related industries are under intense pressure from consumers and creatives to be inclusive, respectful, and transparent. Foresight’s service will include: strategy for discovering and mitigating issues facing an individual or companies, plans to remedy damage from past acts and ongoing monitoring, and advice to manage reputations for public figures and brands.

Targeted clients for Foresight include production companies in the process of acquiring or releasing intellectual property and its subsequent challenges (think Scarlett Johansson and the “Rub & Tug” debacle), public personalities whose continued success is reliant on positive perception, C-suite executives embarking on internal investigations into misconduct, and groups looking to extensively vet job candidates. Foresight’s tech team will also work proactively to squash erroneous and damaging social media content in the public sphere and on the dark web — like the unsettling rise of fake videos (or “deepfakes”) that have targeted stars like “Game of Thrones” lead Emilia Clarke with manufactured, but photo-realistic pornographic images.

The Foresight team also stressed several services it will not provide: resources or strategy to cover up misconduct or impropriety, advice on keeping or firing executives and talent under siege, and any data obtained surreptitiously (no hacking). Foresight intends to adhere to codes of conduct and best practices from major advocacy groups like Time’s Up and GLAAD.

While Foresight already counts inaugural clients, they will never disclose their roster under protections from the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. It will largely communicate with clients via an encrypted app.

Principal Communications will remain active and busy, repping content makers and show business heavyweights like Marvel Studios, Bad Robot, A24, WarnerMedia, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The partners will manage both companies. Edgeworth Security is led by CEO Ken Young, a Marine Corps veteran, and Chad Brockway, VP of cyber operations and former FBI program manager.

(Pictured: Hans-Dieter Kopal, Melissa Zukerman, and Paul Pflug)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Metro 2033

    Cult Sci-Fi Novel 'Metro 2033' to Be Adapted as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

    Russia’s TNT-Premier Studios Company, TV-3 Channel and Central Partnership Film Company – all part of Gazprom Media – have come together to produce a movie based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s sci-fi novel “Metro 2033,” which has also been adapted as a video game. Filming is due to start next year. The Russian premiere of the movie [...]

  • Beforeigners

    'Beforeigners’' Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  HBO Europe’s first Norwegian original series, which debuted Aug. 21 exclusively across HBO’s territories, has garnered rave reviews in the Norwegian press. It is also a perfect fit for HBO’s brand and goal to create bold, smart and author-driven shows. Produced by Endemol Shine’s Norwegian prodco Rubicon TV, “Beforeigners” is helmed by [...]

  • Refugees from the besieged Muslim enclave

    Sarajevo’s True Stories Market: Documenting the Atrocities of War

    Reconciliation and dealing with the tragedies of the Yugoslav Wars has been a major focus of the Sarajevo Film Festival and its CineLink Industry Days event in recent years. The True Stories Market, launched in 2016, aims to connect filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav Wars that spanned 1991 to 2001 [...]

  • Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’

    Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ Wins Top Prize in Sarajevo

    “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Bosnian director Ena Sendijarević’s coming-of-age story about a teen raised in the Netherlands who returns to Bosnia to visit her ailing father, won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival Thursday night, earning the Amsterdam-based helmer the coveted Heart of Sarajevo Award. The jury heralded the “beautifully photographed, acted, scripted [...]

  • Khadar Ahmed - BUFO - photo

    Bufo Sets Key Cast for Co-Production ‘The Gravedigger' (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —   Actor Omar Abdi, who starred in the Ahmed-scripted short “Citizens,” and actress Yasmin Warsame, who made her name as a Canadian model, will topline romantic-tragedy “The Gravedigger,” the latest big screen project from Bufo, the Helsinki-based outfit behind Berlinale winner “The Other Side of Hope.” The film follows a Djibouti gravedigger [...]

  • Jacobs Ladder Movie 2019

    Film Review: 'Jacob's Ladder'

    It’s understandable that someone would want to remake “Jacob’s Ladder,” Adrian Lyne’s 1990 head-trip thriller about a Vietnam veteran haunted by fragmentary nightmare visions. I was far from alone in finding the original to be an overwrought but rather thin “psychological” horror film that was more punishing than pleasurable. And it wasn’t exactly a hit, [...]

  • Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles

    Film Review: 'Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles'

    Still beloved and routinely revived 55 years after its Broadway debut — including a Yiddish-language version now playing in New York — “Fiddler on the Roof” is a popular phenomenon that shows no sign of subsiding. Max Lewkowicz’s “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” provides an entertaining if hardly exhaustive overview of how the unlikely success [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content