Image (c) Andy Fitzsimons
Ex-Dragon Den's star, recruitment industry entrepreneur and UK government social mobility 'tsar' James Caan stepped into an almighty row on Tuesday after urging parents not to help their children to find work - when his own daughter has worked for one of his companies.
At the very least, Caan - who was adamant that a 'child should stand on his own two feet' - could be accused of failing to practise what he preaches. Some have gone even further and have condemned his comments as hypocritical.
Caan insists his daughter got her role 'on merit', even though it's hard to imagine that her application wouldn't be taken very seriously.
Parents want the best for their kids. That's the way it works in the 'real world'. They invest a lot of love, time, money and whatever networks they have access to, to help their children reach their full potential and to realize their dreams.
With the credit crunch still biting and an increasing number of graduates unable to find jobs related to their area of study, parents are almost duty bound to do whatever they can to help their children. It's a natural instinct, which the entrepreneur didn't seem to acknowledge.
Caan didn't help matters by appearing on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, today (Wednesday) for the second day running to defend his original claim and to add that it would be unfair to discriminate against someone just because you're related to them.
Surely this cancels out his initial comments?
The Reputation Manager recommends that James Caan should sit this one out, especially if he's inclined - as appears to be the case - to come out fighting.
Nothing he can say, apart from a fulsome, unequivocal and unreserved apology for cloudy thinking will convince people that it's not a case of 'one rule for them and another for the rest of us.'
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.