We all make mistakes. Some people, however, make them in dramatic fashion on a global stage, like Steve Harvey’s painfully embarrassing slip up during last night’s Miss Universe competition.
The Family Feud host, who was tasked with hosting the event, announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner. The problem was that Gutierrez was the first runner-up, not the winner. While she was soaking in love from the crowd, barely containing her own excitement, Harvey stunned the crowd and Gutierrez, of course, by announcing he had made a terrible mistake.
He promptly informed the crowd and contestants that Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach was the real winner.
The live audience turned on the host, and Twitter exploded with brutal jokes and criticism of the TV veteran.
Despite the negative press he’ll be hit with throughout the week, Harvey’s career and legacy won’t be damaged by this remarkable blunder. Here’s why…
It was an honest mistake. Harvey was neither reckless nor malevolent in his error. Careless – yes – but he didn’t in any way intend for something like this to happen. For example, anyone caught shoplifting will tell you they made a mistake, but it’s a malicious mistake. His mistake, on the other hand, created an intensely awkward situation, but it was an honest mistake and one unlikely to tarnish his long and impressive career.
He took immediate accountability. Most people would be visibly horrified if they realized they had made a mistake of that magnitude. But Harvey, being the professional he is, promptly took control of the situation by taking complete ownership of his mistake and correcting it the best he could. He took to social media after the show to express additional gestures of remorse and regret.
He’s likeable. Much of the immediate Twitter reaction was a result of schadenfreude, the dark side of the human psyche in which we are prone to derive pleasure from the failures of others. This phenomenon seems to be magnified when celebrities are involved. At the same time, Harvey is one of the most likeable TV personalities out there, which will accelerate the forgiveness process and lessen the long-term impact on his career.
Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, a national public relations agency supporting the communications needs of registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other forward-thinking financial services firms. Learn more at www.flackable.com or www.brianhartpr.com. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianHartPR.