News & Politics

What to Say to Someone In the Middle of a Public Embarrassment

Photograph by Flickr user Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Our expert: Anthony Weiner, a former congressman from New York who resigned after explicit tweets from him surfaced.

“The best advice I would give is talk about anything but. People think they can offer you brilliant wisdom when the only thing that sometimes ends a scandal is time. I remember I was talking to Ben Affleck, and he said, ‘When you’re in the middle of these things, it seems like the end of the world, and then it will be over.’ Even that wasn’t comforting, because when you’re in the middle of it, you’re in the middle of it. Offers to help are not very helpful. The last thing someone wants at a cocktail party is your public-relations advice. Ignore the elephant in the room.”

Read more advice, tips, and tricks from Washington natives in our Secrets of the City package.

This article appears in our January 2016 issue of Washingtonian.