There she stood, in a flowing white Versace dress for all the world to see. It was a bold move and an awe-striking appearance by the one-time Olympic gold medal decathlete now known as Caitlyn Jenner.
The media considered her acceptance of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPYs a “coming out celebration.” Unfortunately, per a Radar Online report, the entire story was almost certainly a pay-for-play PR stunt.
ESPN is taking fire from certain quarters for giving Jenner an award in the first place, but it turns out that her publicity brigade was negotiating this appearance with the worldwide leader in sports as early as the talks regarding Diane Sawyer’s exclusive interview.
Her agents approached ESPN, which is owned by Disney like Sawyer’s ABC, “and they suggested that she receive the Arthur Ashe award,” the source claimed. “It was a brilliant move because the executives at ESPN loved the idea, and immediately began making sure it got done. Caitlyn’s journey to accepting the award will also be featured on her upcoming reality show, I am Cait.”
The pomp and circumstance, the tears and the jeers…they were all planned for a reality show?! And to think, both the interview and the award almost didn’t happen.
“There was a hiccup during the talks about Caitlyn receiving the award, and her reps were prepared to pull her interview with Diane Sawyer if she didn’t get it,” the source said. “It was ironed out, and ABC owns one of the biggest stories of the year.”
While many people in the LGBT community are still applauding the courage and strength it took Jenner to go through with this process so publicly, some in the PR community can’t help but think even the most unscrupulous publicist would frown upon this news.
Welcome to the often-shady world of the media, where ratings trump…well, everything.