South Bend PR Expert offers his take on Te'o Girlfriend Hoax - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend PR Expert offers his take on Te'o Girlfriend Hoax Story


Thom Villing is the President of Villing and Company, a marketing and communications firm in South Bend.  We approached him with one simple question.  "The question was, 'What you do if you had a client in this kind of situation?'"  Villing recounts as we sit down for an interview. 

When it comes to Manti Te'o and the girlfriend hoax, maybe that question isn't really simple after all.  "I can't even think of a comparable situation,"  Villing says.  "Certainly we've had clients that we needed to provide some counsel in some difficult situations, but this is absolutely the most bizarre situation I've ever encountered."

Bizarre or not he says his advice would include being transparent and doing it quickly.  He says Te'o should go public.  "If there's a void in info people start to fill in the gaps on their own and that's when people start to speculate, and what have you, and that's where you get into real problems," he says.

Other high profile people have opted to sit down with Oprah when they've faced difficult situations, but Villing says he wouldn't recommend Te'o go that route.  "People are pretty skeptical about that sort of thing.  I think having some sort of press conference, not that you'd invite the whole world, but at least you'd have multiple outlets."

If that type of press conference is assembled, Villing says Te'o should be as forthcoming as possible.  "It shouldn't take this much time," Villing says.  "He's got to take the band-aid off and just got to make it happen."

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