What should you do when a celebrity ‘influencer’ becomes toxic?

As Speedo, Ralph Lauren and other sponsors recently found out, having a sponsorship deal with an athlete or other public figure isn’t always everything it’s cracked up to be. Here’s what you can learn from the situation. 

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On Monday, Speedo USA announced it was ending its relationship with swimmer Ryan Lochte. Ralph Lauren, Syneron Candela and Airweave also terminated their sponsorship deals with Lochte.

Speedo’s announcement read, in part:

While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for.

A story that went awry

Lochte and three other American swimmers allegedly vandalized a gas station in Rio during the Olympic Games . At best, Lochte completely “over-exaggerated” when said that he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint. At worst, he flat-out lied to everybody, from his mom to Brazilian police and members of the United States Olympic Committee.

That bad situation only gets worse when you consider how it must feel for Brazilians. Many residents were already sensitive about what the Olympic games spotlighted about their country.

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