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)