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If you were a cognizant human in the 1990’s, you remember a time when Wesley Snipes was seemingly in every movie that was released.

Snipes’ fall from grace has been spectacular; he currently resides in a federal correctional facility in Pennsylvannia. Even on the inside it seems dude cannot catch a break.

Fortunately, there are some lessons PR pros can learn from the trials and tribulations of Passenger 57:

  1. Set aside cash to pay thine taxes. As someone whose consulting practice is slowly kicking up, I am acutely aware of the fact that the Government of Soviet Canuckistan does not deduct taxes at the source of my revenues. Thing is, those appartchiks in Ottawa (or DC, or Ulan Baatar) are going to want their money, and typically have the power to get it. Citizens of Greece were once able to give their government the slip. You, I, and Wesley are not so lucky. Make sure you allot the right amount of that cash you take in as a consultant or agency for your overlords.
  2. ‘Going kooky’ is never preferable to being transparent. After being indicted for tax evasion in 2006, Snipes tried to defend himself by declaring that he was  “a non-resident alien” of the United States. The idiot was born in Orlando. Owning the mistake, instead of uttering preposterous defenses might have saved him time in the slammer. In PR, we have countless examples to support the notion that when a person or organization has done wrong the best thing to do is own up, state plans to fix things and then execute.
  3. Good times are fleeting and fickle. Wesley Snipes was once a multi-millionaire action star who jetted around the world. Now he wears prison garb. Since no one is immune to an economic (or other type of) downturn, we’d all do well to remember that good times can sour pretty quick. What’s a PR pro to do? For one, don’t take longstanding clients for granted. Service them well, and they’ll be your best friends when good times dry up.





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