One Click, Two Clicks, Melissa Click

Are we so shallow that our perception will change with a kinder, gentler picture?  Missouri professor Melissa Click hopes so.


Click is trying very hard to rehabilitate her reputation following the disastrous optics of her blocking access to a student photographer at Missouri, then calling for muscle to enforce her command. The video went viral, and with it, her reputation.

Her rationalization sounds remarkably familiar.

“When I watch it, I am embarrassed and sorry,” she said in a telephone interview. “I see someone dealing with a high-stress situation who gets flustered. I see a moment where I feel like I’m not representing my best self, and I see somebody who’s trying to do her best to help marginalized students.

“I try to remember that’s only one moment of a full day, and only one moment in a 12-year career,” she said.

There is a place for people who explain away their worst moment that way. It’s called prison. The place is lousy with people who excuse the “one moment” when they pulled the trigger, as opposed to all the moments when they didn’t.

Of course, Click didn’t pull a trigger. And she’s not in prison, although she has suffered some ridiculously dubious and inexplicably opportunistic involvement with the legal system. But her name, her face, will not be soon forgotten.

Attempts by ordinary people to recover their reputations after spectacular downward spirals as public villains du jour is an emerging art form and business opportunity. Status Labs has worked pro bono to arrange Ms. Click’s interviews and distribute professional head shots to replace the more commonly known image of her: a blurry, mid-yell frame from the YouTube video.

Reputation management? Is that a thing?

“When she stays silent, everyone assumes that she was guilty of something, and the vacuum gets filled by, often times, trolls, detractors and people who dislike her,” said Darius Fisher, the president of Status Labs.

And sometimes, the vacuum gets filled by people who have fully legitimate, absolutely accurate assessments of the wrong committed by the person being shamed. Sorry, Darius, but you don’t get to play spinmeister without someone calling bullshit.

Should Melissa Click’s 15 minutes of infamy be over already?  It would be easier to say so if she stopped trying to lie her way out of what she did wrong, if she showed some real grasp of why she doesn’t get to indulge her feelings for free.  And of course, it wasn’t just this time. Lying doesn’t help, Click.  Serial lying, even less so.

“I wasn’t prepared for that interaction,” she said, adding that she wished she had taken the time to “respectfully converse” with the student.

“I certainly didn’t mean what I said to be a call for violence,” she said.

Nobody ever does. After they’ve gotten caught. And shamed.

The new picture of Melissa Click is far more fetching than the old one. Do you really think it will work?  Even if Click’s 15 minutes are over, will we think of her in the new picture or the old one? No reputation management guy is going to save you from yourself, Click.

44 thoughts on “One Click, Two Clicks, Melissa Click

  1. Patrick Maupin

    The subject is not particularly photogenic, a condition with which I sympathize.

    Nonetheless, if I view the pictures in isolation, without the back story, the one on the left shows a woman who is passionate and articulate, perhaps even charismatic. She could be anywhere — being interviewed in the aftermath of a natural disaster, perhaps.

    The picture on the right shows an ineffectual, goofy wallflower. I suppose that’s fine if that’s what you’re aiming for, but why? I’m not even in media, but I need people who can speak up at a meeting. If I were hiring from photographs, the one on the left is actually better.

    What’s the point of this reputation management thing, again?

      1. Patrick Maupin

        It’s more of a visceral disgust than hate, but for me, neither still image triggers it. The words associated with the video that the angry still came from, sure, but not the still itself (and maybe not even the video, sans audio).

        Politicians (and maybe academics with their committees, I suppose) have to win over some people and render the remainder apathetic, so maybe it’s a good strategy. Wouldn’t work in my world, though.

      1. John Barleycorn

        Don’t worry Noxx. This isn’t the first time the esteemed one has missed an Orwell reference. All lawyers should brush up on the classics from time to time but they get lost in all them briefs which isn’t good, but whatca-ya-gonna-do?

          1. John Barleycorn

            One you could use around here from time to time even.

            Not sure it fits perfectly with this points of this post but who doesn’t like Benjamin?

          2. Keith

            Seems legit.


            But everyone worked according to his capacity. The hens and ducks, for
            instance, saved five bushels of corn at the harvest by gathering up the
            stray grains. Nobody stole, nobody grumbled over his rations, the
            quarrelling and biting and jealousy which had been normal features of life
            in the old days had almost disappeared. Nobody shirked–or almost nobody.
            Mollie, it was true, was not good at getting up in the mornings, and had a
            way of leaving work early on the ground that there was a stone in her
            hoof. And the behaviour of the cat was somewhat peculiar. It was soon
            noticed that when there was work to be done the cat could never be found.
            She would vanish for hours on end, and then reappear at meal-times, or in
            the evening after work was over, as though nothing had happened. But she
            always made such excellent excuses, and purred so affectionately, that it
            was impossible not to believe in her good intentions. Old Benjamin, the
            donkey, seemed quite unchanged since the Rebellion. He did his work in the
            same slow obstinate way as he had done it in Jones’s time, never shirking
            and never volunteering for extra work either. About the Rebellion and its
            results he would express no opinion. When asked whether he was not happier
            now that Jones was gone, he would say only “Donkeys live a long time. None
            of you has ever seen a dead donkey,” and the others had to be content with
            this cryptic answer.

  2. Austin Texas piñata

    Interestingly Mr. Fisher of Status labs has his own experience with managing events that are ‘only one moment in a career’.

    From the Texas Monthly Feb 26, 15: “The destruction of Jumpolin, the East Austin piñata shop that was demolished overnight last month, continues to make waves. The story blew up to national proportions shortly after the Lejarazu family, which owned the shop, first found the ruins of their store on the corner at which it had previously resided. The building had been bought by Jordan French and Darius Fisher of F&F Real Estate Ventures, two Austin entrepreneurs with both real estate holdings and tech industry businesses, who had the building demolished despite the fact that three years remained on Jumpolin’s lease.”

  3. Gregg

    She missed a golden opportunity here:

    Step 1: Hire Zarelli as reputation manager
    Step 2: Wait for him to crash and burn, as per usual
    Step 3: Everybody forgets about Click in the resulting uproar over Zarelli

    Who says reputation management has to be difficult? If you can’t prevent yourself from looking like an ass, go stand by a bigger ass.

      1. Gregg

        See? Nobody brought up Ostrow. But, didn’t you already sort of bring Zarelli up by linking to your previous post?

  4. Martin Goodson

    ‘I certainly didn’t mean what I said to be a call for violence.’

    Quite plausible. Clearly what she meant to say was ‘I need some muscle over here to engage in a free and frank discussion on the merits of the first amendment with this gentleman’ and just … forgot the last bit.

    1. Patrick Maupin

      You guys don’t get it. Any media professor knows that nothing says “I’m about to beat you up” like sticking a camera in your face. She was actually trying to prevent violence by showing that it wouldn’t do any good — she had the bigger muscles — and this attack, attack I tell you, is how you repay her.

  5. losingtrader

    Wait. I thought that’s what your Crisis Management was about.

    I’m having one of those moments now where I owe a guy in NYC $50,000 and don’t want to pay.
    Do you use “friends” who deal in threats such as , “So help me I’m gonna break every fuckin’ bone in your body!”
    Yeah, I COULD pay, but then I’d be out $50,000. I’d likely not miss it for long, but was just thinking I could use Crisis management

    1. SHG Post author

      It’s exactly what crisis management is about. Want to bet I could have done a much better job of it? But if I explain how without being retained first, I would have to kill Melissa Click, and that would be wrong.

      1. JAV

        I believe in freedom of speech but including hyperbole in your hypotheticals might frighten people, leading to lost sleep, lack of appetite, and an inability to send outraged tweets.

  6. losingtrader

    ” I would have to kill Melissa Click, and that would be wrong.”


    I think you mean illegal.

  7. mb

    Afterwards is too late to do any good. But I’ve been thinking for the last several months about starting a consulting firm to help leadership in businesses and other organizations in case of being protested by sjws. Keep screaming about cultural appropriation, kids. The financial viability of my future business depends on you costing them more than I do.

  8. John Rew

    Poor Melissa Click. Nobody actually gives a rats arse about her personal bedside manner. The problem is that she has confirmed something we already suspected. These insane, so called, student protests are actually instigated and driven to near hysteria by members of the faculty. How is she going to get that cat back in the bag? I know let’s pretend no one noticed.

  9. Jake DiMare

    Oh, Reputation Management, or Reputation Recovery, as I like to call it, is most definitely a thing. Burying online stories about drunk rich kids behaving badly is practically a cottage industry.

  10. JAV

    And now Reuters says that Mizzou’s fired Click. Hopefully the very classy headshot will be a nice addition to her C.V.

  11. Paul L.

    Melissa Click borrowed from the Police media playbook.
    At PINAC “Claimed She was in Fear for Her Life, Thinking Student Journalist had Gun, Which is Why She Assaulted Him.”

      1. Keith

        There’s only so much a a company like that can do. If you want those kinds of miracles, have your union rep contact William J. Lewinski.

  12. jack gladney

    thank god, the witch has been axed. good thing the “reputation management” was free of charge, considering it didn’t work. sadly, though, the positions of her cohort and husband buffalo chip callahan and other cohort janna basler are safe, as it now seems.

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