Crisis expert Judy Smith, who inspired the popular character Olivia Pope on the hit TV show Scandal
, takes on the real-life dramas of Dr. Phil’s guests. First, 39-year-old mother of two Kimberly says the media has dubbed her the “Florida Party Mom” after she was arrested for allegedly throwing an alcohol-filled party with 26 teens at her home. Kimberly maintains her innocence and claims police lied in their report. What does she say happened on the night she claims SWAT teams showed up at her door — and broke it down? Then, Soraida says her ex-boyfriend, Bruce, secretly posted her and her 16-year-old daughter, Pam’s, information on Internet escort sites — causing dozens of men to show up at their home, looking for sex. Why does Pam say her mother is partly to blame for what happened? Can this mother and daughter repair their relationship — and reputations?
“Florida Party Mom”
Mother of two Kimberly was dubbed the “Florida Party Mom” by the media after authorities claimed she threw an alcohol-filled party with teens, including her teenage son, at her waterfront condo. According to police reports, 26 minors drank beer and liquor, and one 16-year-old was so drunk, she was found by police choking on her own vomit and was sent to a local hospital. Police reports also state that once officers entered Kimberly’s house, they found her sitting on a chair so intoxicated that she urinated all over herself, and they found her 7-year-old son locked in a bathroom.
Although Kimberly’s legal case is still pending, she claims that she is completely innocent and that the police lied 56 times in their report. Kimberly says that she can't drink because of a medical condition, and she claims that the kids were drinking at the beach, but she did not provide alcohol.
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How does Kimberly describe the events of that night?
Kimberly joins Dr. Phil via satellite, and he asks her about the inconsistencies she claims are in the police report.
“Doesn’t the bathroom lock from the inside?”
When neighbors called 911 to complain about the noise and police showed up, Kimberly reportedly refused to let them in. Then, she claims SWAT showed up, and all hell broke loose. Kimberly says that from the time the police arrived, it was an hour before the teens started leaving her condo. She recounts, “What took them the majority of the time was all the business at the door before they entered.” The incident was captured on video. Kimberly repeatedly can be heard refusing to open the door, and she claims that police and SWAT threatened the people in the house with weapons. Officers can be heard saying, “Everybody on the floor! Get on the floor — face down! We could’ve handled this at the door, civilly. Now look at you guys! Real smart, huh? You think arguing with the police is the way to go? What do you think is going to happen?”
Kimberly says she and the teens were scared and scattered — some hiding around the condo — including in closets and the bathroom.
Dr. Phil wants to know, “If you have absolutely nothing to hide, why wouldn’t you just open the door?”
Kimberly says, “I wouldn’t open the door because I had asked for 10 or 15 minutes, I had asked different ways, for just a simple reason. All I wanted was a reason, and I would have opened the door. It was not a problem. I could not get a reason, and also due to their hostility and aggression. Nothing about the situation was safe, in my opinion.”
How Kimberly Can Bounce Back from this Scandal
Kimberly says she has lost her job as a pharmacist, her dream home and is now forced to live with friends. “My life has been shredded and torn apart. I was victimized by the officer and the outright lies,” she says. She states that she was made out to be the “Casey Anthony of the living room” and claims that because of this incident, she is in danger of losing custody of her two children and could face up to a 31-year sentence for child abuse.
Judy Smith, one of the top crisis management experts in the United States, joins Dr. Phil onstage. Judy is the real-life inspiration behind the popular character, Olivia Pope, from the hit TV show, Scandal
and the author of Good Self, Bad Self: How to Bounce Back From a Personal Crisis
Judy says that in times of crisis, it is often difficult for people to tell the truth and sometimes, ego can get in the way of admitting mistakes. “Ego can be a very good thing, because we need it to propel us to success, but it can certainly get in the way of really looking at the kinds of flaws that that we have, and the kinds that get us in trouble every day,” she says.
Judy offers Kimberly advice on how to bounce back from this scandal and rebuild her reputation.
Dr. Phil says that Kimberly is in a damage control situation and needs to make a modified mea culpa — an apology — so that she can move on and begin to rebuild her life. “Kimberly, what I want you to hear Judy saying is she said, look, as a crisis manager, I’m coming here trying to tell you — you are in a damage control situation.”
Boyfriend’s Reign of Terror
Soraida thought she had met “the one” when she started a relationship with her now ex-boyfriend, Bruce. She says he wined and dined her — taking her to lavish dinners and showering her with expensive gifts, including a top-of-the-line smartphone and an international airline ticket to see her family. She says little did she know that she met “the one” who would do everything in his power to destroy her life and the life of her teenage daughter, Pamela.
Pamela is angry at her mother, because she feels she did not do enough to protect her from Bruce.
Soraida says, “After a couple months of dating, Bruce gave me an iPhone. One day he called me over 48 times. He was tracking me this whole time. After we started having sex, he would ask me to take a picture and send it to him. Bruce then created a prostitution website and listed my boss as my pimp.”
“This is just the beginning of your nightmare.”
Dr. Phil runs down what Soraida says are Bruce’s malicious actions against Soraida and Pam: He posted Soraida’s pictures on porn websites; listed Soraida’s boss as her pimp; got Soraida fired from her banking job; sent a video he secretly taped of Soraida and him having sex to Pam and her friends; sent texts to men Soraida dated, saying she had a sexually transmitted disease; slashed Soraida’s car tires, and listed Soraida and Pam as “mother and daughter” prostitutes and posted their home address online — causing more than 60 men to come to their home looking for sex.
Mapping Out a Fix-It Strategy
Judy meets with the mother and daughter face to face to learn more about the Internet harassment that they say they’ve endured.
Soraida has guilt and says that Pamela is not OK. “It is a terrible feeling that a mother can have. It destroyed her completely, and she’s not the same person who she used to be.”
“I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help.”
Judy says, “The key thing is I would hate to see you let somebody else control your life and control your destiny, meaning Bruce, a person who is in jail. So, you really have to decide to put this in your rear-view mirror.”
Judy’s Fix-It Plan for Pamela: Realize your mom’s mistakes are not your mistakes, they are hers; release your anger; don’t give power to someone else over your life and don’t let one incident define your future. Sometimes, you have to let go of the past to grab hold of the future.
Judy’s Fix-It Plan for Soraida: “I want you to be more cautious about people who you let in your life, and really think about the kinds of things that are important,” she says. She suggests Soraida thinks about the “hole” that Soraida says she has in her life — no knight in shining armor will fill that hole — and she advises that Soraida concentrate on building a safe and stable environment for herself and her daughter.
Dr. Phil offers advice. “My dad used to say, 'You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought of you, if you knew how seldom they did,'” he says. He also suggests that they keep perspective. "You may think there is a big negative spotlight on you, but you’ve got to realize, we’re really not that important to other people.”
He adds, "We sometimes take things so personally that if we allow everyone to believe every negative thing that is said about us, we are giving the other person a power that they don’t really have." He warns Soraida that she will keep the crisis alive by losing perspective — the fact that her cyber-stalker, Bruce, is in the penitentiary for seven years should provide some comfort.
Celebrity Scandals in the Spotlight
Judy has worked to rebuild the reputations of celebrities like Wesley Snipes, Jesse Jackson Jr., Monica Lewinsky, NFL quarterback Michael Vick, Paula Deen and many others. She offers advice to two young celebrities that seem to find themselves in the headlines often, and one politician whose world has been rocked by scandal — none of whom are her clients.
See Judy’s advice for three celebrities in the spotlight.