News travels fast in 2020. You might even say that it doesn’t travel it all but, rather, teleports to your laptop, phone, or tablet. Think about this: there are nearly 6,000 tweets per second – which rounds out to nearly 500 million per day and 200 billion per year. Many of these tweets, for better or worse, will help destroy or build reputations. The same goes for Facebook; there are over 350 million photos uploaded each day to the platform. In 1980, it’s estimated that around 70 thousand photos were taken worldwide each day.

The amount of information available is staggering. News and the accompanying visual content is no longer under the watch of newspapers and 24-hour cable. Anyone with a cell phone is a would-be journalist, and since the news is incessant, so is the cycle of building and destroying reputations.

Let’s open the hood and take a closer look at this week’s reputation winners and losers.


1. Dov Charney 

If the name Dov Charney sounds familiar, it should. The former American Apparel founder has been in and out of bad headlines since the 2000s with allegations of sexual misconduct, toxic work environments, and misuse of company cash. When he was ousted from American Apparel in 2014, it seemed like an impossibly long road back to repairing a reputation that seemed to be imploding from all sides. Low and behold, the road to redemption miraculously appeared earlier this year when Charney’s new company, Los Angeles Apparel, became one of the first to pivot from clothing to mask manufacturing in response to the pandemic.

Things were looking up. Los Angeles Apparel was considered an “essential” business and allowed to remain open, while many businesses were forced to close, while en route to producing over 10 million PPE masks. Then, factory workers started getting sick. On June 19, a nurse contacted health officials about a possible outbreak at the Los Angeles Apparel factory. With conditions being described as workers separated by pieces of cardboard, no health guidance signs in Spanish (most of the employees’ native language), and no training on health protocol, 300 people sick, and 4 now dead, the factory was shut down on June 26.

Takeaway: The internet is possibly the least forgiving invention of all time. If you are awarded a rare second chance, count your lucky stars, remember your past mistakes, and for heaven’s sake, don’t blow it.

2. Nick Cannon

ViacomCBS canned Nick Cannon earlier this week for a continued pattern of anti-semitism and racist remarks, the latest of which most recently spewed from Cannon’s podcast, Cannon’s Class. You can hear a portion of the podcast below:

Perhaps most disturbing are his remarks about hate speech. “It’s never hate speech; you can’t be anti-semitic when we are the Semitic people, when we are the same people who they want to be,” Cannon said. “That’s our birthright. We are the true Hebrews.” Wow. This is the same person who was on Nickelodeon in the 1990s? What happened here? Maybe he’s been in the spotlight too long and those Hollywood lights are a little too bright. While refusing to apologize initially, Cannon may now see the long-term consequences of his actions while kicking off an apology tour while also demanding the rights to his show.

Takeaways: Sometimes, you have to lose what’s most important to you to figure out that you were wrong, and at that point, the damage most likely has already been done. Don’t wait for that moment to happen. Rebuilding a reputation is a long, tough road that doesn’t always get you out of the hole you dug for yourself.


1. Anthony Fauci

Even with a constant flow of presidential undermining, thinly disguised attacks, backstabbing, and White House doublespeak, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been one of the few sources of information on the coronavirus that Americans can trust. Most recently, Fauci has remained unflappable in the face of an administration that has provided anonymously written memos to news outlets that discredited him.

“Ultimately, it hurts the president to do that,” Fauci said. “When the staff lets out something like that and the entire scientific and press community push back on it, it ultimately hurts the president.”

Perhaps, as Americans grow weary of a steady stream of disease and death, the president’s go-to theatrics are beginning to implode. Fauci has remained truthful, consistent, and somehow encouraging, even when the numbers tell the disastrous truth of an administration asleep behind the wheel.

Takeaway: One of the most difficult parts of maintaining a good reputation is when that reputation is senselessly attacked. Always take the high road, and people will see the phonies for who they are.

2. Walmart

Since masks have become unanimous with disease prevention, some of the last remaining entities holding out on requiring masks have been major retailers. This has been mainly due to the unpredictable scenarios that many of us have witnessed when customers are required to wear them. See Exhibit A below:

It’s easy to imagine what sort of a tight-rope walk it would be with customers refusing to wear masks, and up until this point, the scale has tipped in favor of protecting employees from potential confrontations. It’s a difficult decision but, ultimately, the right one.

To help bring consistency across stores and clubs, we will require all shoppers to wear a face covering starting Monday, July 20,” Walmart U.S. Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith and Sam’s Club Chief Operating Officer Lance De La Rosa said. “This will give us time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage, and train associates on the new protocols.”

Takeaways: When you are the leader in your field, every choice you make will improve or damage your reputation. The most difficult decisions reap the greatest rewards when the correct choice is made.