Ryan Lochte in crisis
Harry How/ Getty Images
Before we get into this Ryan Lochte mess, how about a throwback? To my favourite Ryan Lochte article written by Erin Gloria Ryan for Jezebel after the London Games, 10 Reasons Why Ryan Lochte Is America’s Sexiest Douchebag. I still become hysterical every time I read her “stop” for #7.
Back then, Ryan Lochte was just a dumdum dudebro with great abs and beautiful comedic timing:
Now? Well, now he’s the dumdum with great abs who may have started an international incident. There are 88 versions of what happened that night in Rio. And 888 more opinions about who’s at fault. Some people are like, “Brasil bad, Brasil corrupt”! And others are all, “American assholes being assholes!” All the versions of the event have been broken down by news outlets. I don’t need to do that here. What I want to do here is talk about Ryan Lochte, the celebrity, and how his celebrity will be affected by the situation.
This morning, Ryan issued an official apology:
He’s also hired a crisis manager. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
“Swimmer Ryan Lochte, embroiled in an international scandal over his story of being robbed at gunpoint at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, has enlisted the help of a top crisis publicist with ties to the worlds of entertainment, sports and politics. Matthew Hiltzik, a New York-based communications consultant whose clients have included Justin Bieber, Harvey Weinstein, the NFL's Manti Te'o, Katie Couric and Alec Baldwin, joined Lochte's team of representatives in the past 24 hours.”
He’s apologised and he’s hired a crisis manager because his endorsements have been jeopardised. His endorsements have been jeopardised because he’s f-cked up his reputation. No one ever thought Ryan Lochte was smart and his endorsements were never tied to his (lack of) intelligence. They were based on performance. He was a winner. And because he was winner, and hot, and goofy, girls wanted to f-ck him and guys wanted to be him.
But Ryan did not win a single individual performance medal at the Rio Games. All he’s coming away with from these Games is a diplomatic scandal, one that started with him having the biggest dick and ending with him lying about the size of his dick.
You’ll recall Ryan’s initial account about what happened that night in an interview with Billy Bush was all about how he was a tough motherf-cker:
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over. They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.
And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cell phone, he left my credentials.”
Ryan Lochte gets jacked by some real Rio gangsters and told them “whatever”?! At the time, everyone’s like, whaaaaa, Ryan Lochte’s stupid as f-ck, but he’s got some big ass balls! Hulk smash!
But then it turns out they never got pulled over, it happened at a gas station, and, the worst part, there was never a “whatever”. The “whatever” was the heart of it, right? Or the cock of it. Losing the “whatever” is the castration of this story.
The “whatever” was a “not really”. And if the “whatever” was a “not really” than what you we have left is Ryan Lochte telling a story about how he was all fake “whatever”, fake standing up to the robbers, “whatever”, while his teammates cowered in fear. Because remember, in the pre-castrated version of Ryan’s story, his fellow swimmers were the ones who got down on the ground while he “whatevered” with a gun pointed at his head.
That’s what he chose to say with a microphone pointed in his face. He chose to make himself the man and his teammates the boys. And then, after arriving home safely, while his teammates were still back in Rio dealing with the controversy, Ryan’s playing with filters on social media:
Meantime, Ryan Lochte just posted a video on Instagram with funny faces wishing a fellow swimmer a happy birthday pic.twitter.com/MQRehuV2Gs— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) August 18, 2016
This is why Ryan Lochte needs a crisis publicity strategy. Because even if you believe that he was treated unfairly at that gas station, what’s undeniable is that the “whatever” was a myth. Celebrity is part mythology. Up to this point, the mythology of Ryan Lochte was based on the fact that whatever he lacked in the brain he made up for as a Bro. This guy was supposed to be a BRO. A straight up, solid gold BRO with ice in his grill and wings on his feet.
He’s the guy who started an international incident because he lied to his mom.