This is the first episode of “Interviews with Lynn” a seven-part series from Culloton + Bauer Luce on the issues facing public affairs and crisis management practitioners and their clients.

Lynn Holley, senior consultant at CBL and a former financial news anchor, interviews founding partners Dennis Culloton and Natalie Bauer Luce. These communications strategists offer a behind the scenes glimpse of guiding clients through all manner of crises from global pandemics to boardroom scandals. They’ve helped clients navigate cultural changes and political turmoil with an eye toward rebuilding reputations and renewing purpose.


Lynn Holley (LH): I wanted to ask you two about this, it is a big deal now. There’s been a lot of discussion about so-called cancel culture of our current era. Can someone get themselves uncanceled?

Natalie Bauer Luce (NBL): I think we’re still trying to learn the answer to that question, frankly. This is a new era that we’re all operating in and the rules I think are still being written.

But you know cancellation is widespread you can just look at the last couple of weeks. You look at the Oscars for example in the infamous slap and you know it’ll be interesting to see what a character like Will Smith does to rehabilitate himself once his 10-year ban from the Oscars is completed.

But I think that there can be a good degree to speak to to what we do for a living. I think if you put in the work and if you are authentic and genuine about the efforts to rehab your reputation you can go a long ways as to be uncanceled.

If you will, I do think it’s a new era the rules are constantly changing but if you stay true to your original mission and purpose and your values you may have you know sidestepped and and created an unintended error you can get back on the right track if you put in the work and you have to be focused and disciplined about it

LH: So it’s like proving you’re genuine.

Dennis Culloton (DC): I think that’s right.

That’s the word “genuine.” I think Natalie made the reference to the word “work.”

I used to think that Americans loved an apology tour and I’ve been around long enough to remember when all you had to do to solve a problem like Will Smith has for example is doing Larry King and maybe Oprah and the way it’s done now you’ve actually got to do some work to turn things around.

I don’t think the cancel culture is fair but it is what it is and to some extent maybe it is holding brands and celebrities and prominent people to account to actually do the work as opposed to just saying the words.