South Florida’s LGBT community was sadly in the news last week after a 77-year-old man drove his truck into the crowd at Wilton Manors Stonewall parade, killing one and injuring another in a horrifying accident.
Lives were lost and forever altered by the heartbreaking tragedy. Unfortunately, Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis quickly mischaracterized the truck accident as a “terrorist attack against the LGBT community,” moments after the incident took place.
That Trantalis made an emotionally charged misstatement after witnessing such a frightening event is forgivable.
But when Trantalis learned that this was not a hate crime and that the gay community had not been targeted, he should have done what people do when they realize they have made a mistake: apologize.
To err is human, and the mayor should have understood that there is no shame in owning a gaffe. Being truthful and honest takes strength, but it’s what is expected from public officials.
The fact that this is still a topic of conversation so many days later is unfortunate. It’s a reminder that you prolong your pain when you fail to simply address a mistake head-on, admit you were wrong and say two simple words: "I'm sorry."
- Evan Nierman
Evan Nierman is the founder and CEO of crisis management firm Red Banyan, which provides crisis PR consulting to clients around the world.