A peek behind Joe Jonas’s PR team’s messy comms strategy and planted stories

A peek behind Joe Jonas’s PR team’s messy comms strategy and planted stories

Joe Jonas's public relations team fumbled in handling the JoBro’s divorce from actress Sophie Turner, resulting in a negative public perception of him. Their mishandling of the PR narrative, painting Mr. Jonas as the hero and Ms. Turner as the villain, was beyond just a blunder. In fact, it sparked backlash, even from a notable faction of Game of Thrones fans, a show where Ms. Turner played a substantial role. Beyond the Thronies, media experts and communication professionals online also exposed this misguided attempt.

Whether you're a Jonas Brothers fan, a devoted Thronie, or just keen on unraveling PR spins, we've got the scoop on what transpired.

What exactly is a PR spin, and why does Joe Jonas find it necessary amidst his divorce?

A PR spin is like adding a dash of glitter to a mishap — it makes things sparkle even when they're not going as planned. Celebrities often find themselves in the limelight, and when facing personal challenges like a very messy, very public divorce, presenting a carefully crafted narrative becomes crucial. Enter PR strategists and their thousand-dollar strategies.

During a divorce, a PR spin is a celebrity's best friend that helps them craft a tale that casts them as either the hero or a survivor. It's all about putting on the best show in the theater of public opinion.

But in Joe Jonas’s case, the spin clearly backfired.

Related reading: How to announce your divorce on Instagram like an A-list celebrity

Tracing the missteps of the JoBro’s PR team

It all began with “unnamed sources.”

In September, “unnamed sources” claimed to have “inside information” of Mr. Jonas and Ms. Turner’s split. This information turned into tabloid stories suggesting that the couple were, in fact, on the verge of divorce, alleging that Ms. Turner prioritized partying over her parental responsibilities. Negative stories about Ms. Turner then continued to surface, leaving many on social media convinced that Mr. Jonas's PR team was strategically planting them to influence public opinion about their private separation.

Almost immediately, online users expressed outrage at what appeared to be the JoBro's attempt to portray his wife in a negative light, even though he had not issued any public statements on the matter. Speculations arose that he might be trying to proactively shape public opinion in case his ex's team had damaging information to reveal about him.

Regardless, there appeared to be no evident rationale for initiating a smear campaign against Ms. Turner, unless it was purely out of spite.

Good dad, bad mom

It's interesting to note that Ms. Turner reportedly learned about his intentions to file for divorce through the media. The couple was also in disagreement regarding the custody arrangements for their children.

In September, Ms. Turner filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan court, aiming for "the immediate return of children wrongfully removed or wrongfully retained." Ms. Turner asserted that Joe, who had filed for divorce in Miami earlier that month, had once agreed that England, her home country, would serve as the family's permanent residence. It appears that he didn’t stay true to his word.

This summer, Ms. Turner had a busy filming schedule, so Mr. Jonas brought their children on the Jonas Brothers' US tour with him. Since then, the children have been Stateside, and Ms. Turner has asserted that Mr. Jonas is refusing to send the kids home to England and turn over their passports to her.

From these events, it’s clear that while Mr. Jonas appeared to have extensively utilized the services of a PR machine, Ms. Turner’s team took legal action. She responded by submitting a comprehensive legal petition invoking international child abduction clauses under the Hague Convention. Within this legal document, she not only addressed her ex-partner's scandalous claims but also completely reshaped the narrative, presenting intricate details that must stand firm in a court of law.

A word on keeping it classy while going through a divorce

There are certain things that Joe Jonas and his PR team could have done better.
First and foremost, he could have kept things real. People can spot PR spin from a mile away, so his team shouldn’t have bothered painting him in perfect light, especially at the expense of his soon-to-be ex-wife.

He also could have taken the high road. Even if your ex is saying nasty things about you (or you're anticipating such negative talk in the press), resisting the urge to engage in retaliation is a sign of maturity and grace, which the public appreciates.

Lastly, he could have just focused on his future. Rather than attempting to depict Ms. Turner as a bad mother, he could have just concentrated on the Jonas Brothers' upcoming projects. Admittedly, this might not have generated as many think pieces and tabloid stories, but it would have allowed him to maintain his "nice guy" image.

If you’re seeking legal advice on sorting out your family law case in Washington State, consult the family law attorneys at Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams — not your neighbors, and certainly not a PR agency. Visit our law offices in Renton or leave us a message.