Two gurus say that the recent flurry of scandalous headlines shouldn’t dampen his box-office bank ability. “John and his team handled this situation quickly, wisely and unified. There will be no career repercussions,” the New York Daily News quoted veteran celebrity publicist Howard Bragman, now an executive at Reputation.com, as saying.
The 58-year-old got hit by a series of allegations earlier this month when two masseurs claimed in a joint federal lawsuit that the “Grease” and “Pulp Fiction” star fondled their private parts and masturbated in their presence during separate massages on opposite coasts in January. The first anonymous masseur said in his May 4 filing that Travolta groped him repeatedly during a private massage at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Jan. 16.
Dubbed as John Doe No. 1, he withdrew his claim last Tuesday after flight records, photos and an eyewitness placed the actor almost 3,000 miles away in New York at the time of the alleged assault. The second masseur joined the lawsuit on May 8 but dismissed his claim without comment on Thursday.
Both men are now working with noted civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred. “There’s an old adage in politics that applies just as well to this situation: If your opponent is in the process of destroying himself, you should stand aside and let it happen,” Mark Fabiani, crisis expert, said.
Fabiani said the now-defunct federal court filings and allegations from other men who supposedly sold their stories shouldn’t hurt Travolta’s upcoming movies, including Oliver Stone’s much anticipated ‘Savages,’ which co-stars Blake Lively, Salma Hayek, Uma Thurman and Benecio Del Toro.
“Here, the accusers’ cases seem to have been self-immolating almost from the get-go, and the credibility of the entire bunch has been called into serious question without Mr. Travolta having to say or do much of anything,” Fabiani said.
“It’s hard to imagine that such sketchy allegations will impact movie-going behavior much at all,” he said. Allred released statements saying she’s conferring with her new clients about possible follow-up action. She said federal court was the wrong venue for the action filed by original attorney Okorie Okorocha.