How you are seen in the wider world can change on a dime, whether you're caught up in a major news story, called out in public or make a misstep online. This week, Piya speaks with people whose characters became warped for all kinds of reasons and asks: How can you rebuild your reputation?
Here are the stories from this week's episode:
When Adam Smith drove up to a Chick-fil-A drive through window and began arguing with an employee about LGBT rights, he thought he was doing something positive. But video of his protest soon went viral. And he went from being a CFO to being on food stamps to contemplating suicide. He tells Piya about his incredible fall and how he managed to bounce back.
In 1992, Robert Baltovich was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain. He spent eight years behind bars... but always maintained his innocence. Eventually, a new trial was ordered, and Robert was acquitted. But it doesn't change how everyone sees him. He explains why he's more concerned about what he sees happening now in the court of public opinion than with flaws in the justice system.
There were two parts to Amanda Mester's reputation in high school. One was that she was brainy, often earning the best grades in her class. The other was that she was a 'slut.' That part hurt. But leaning into it helped make her the happy, healthy and sexually free person she is today.
Matt Earle, founder of Reputation.ca, works with individuals and businesses whose reputations have taken a hit online. Some of his clients are victims of untrue rumours posted to blogs. But others are high-profile people whose reputations have been scarred through widespread media coverage. In either case, he says accusations published online can be "devastating for someone who has worked hard all their life to be a good person."
At 29, Michael Finkel landed his dream job: writer for the New York Times Sunday Magazine. After a few well-received pieces, he created a composite character for a story about child slavery, leading the Times to fire him. He explains how an unexpected case of his own identity theft allowed him to un-compromise his journalistic credibility.
This episode of Out in the Open originally aired on April 8, 2018.