Diana Marszalek 29 Mar 2018 // 10:38PM GMT
NEW YORK — Weber Shandwick is disputing news reports that its crisis management work for Michigan State University focused solely on monitoring the social media accounts of Dr. Larry Nassar’s sexual assault victims.
“While we normally don’t comment on our client assignments, we feel it’s important in the case of the news coverage of our work for Michigan State University because it does not accurately reflect our work,” the agency said in a statement.
“The majority of our work involved crisis counsel to address the tragedy. We were not hired to monitor victims’ social media accounts. As with any assignment, we forwarded to our clients traditional media and publicly available social media pertaining to the horrible tragedy at MSU, including statements made online by the victims.”
“The victims were and continue to be the most important voices in the conversation,” the agency said.
Weber Shandwick’s statement comes in response to a story in the Lansing State Journal saying that MSU paid the agency more than $500,000 in January alone to monitor media surrounding the Nassar case, including the accounts of victims and their families.
Weber’s work with MSU started in late December and ended in early March after the agency resigned the account, it said.
Nassar, a longtime Michigan State and U.S.A. Gymnastics physician, was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in jail for his years of sexually abusing scores of young women, including some of the country’s top gymnasts.
Problems, however, continue to mount for MSU, which has been criticized for its handling of the Nassar case and continues to be the subject of a far-reaching investigation. On Tuesday, a former dean who supervised Nassar for years was charged for both failing to protect his victims, as well as acts of sexual abuse himself.