Saturday, December 3, 2011

Update - if Scott and Tessa don't care - who does? 
December 3, 2011

Awhile back, this blog mentioned this:

I'll tell you the point of this very long post before I make it.

Scott and Tessa are very private and go to extremes to protect this privacy.  No secret. Jessica is fake. Not news.

Their brand of privacy is VERY expensive, beyond money, for in fact not just fans, but other Skate Canada figure skaters who can't afford it and shouldn't have to pay for it, are paying for it.

Scott and Tessa aren't the only privacy-loving figure skaters on the planet, but only they enjoy an entire figure-skating organization and its resources diverted to not just creating an absolutely lazy, dick-headed and half-assed scheme for them, but sustaining it.

Scott and Tessa don't have to discipline themselves to handle this professionally, because the Jessica Hoax and the cost of its component elements are paid for by other, lesser figure skaters. It doesn't cost Scott and Tessa, added to which, Scott and Tessa enjoy a range of services with Skate Canada that nobody else would provide, because many of those services are unethical.

So here goes.
When "Scott" talks to fans on his fan page, the relationship between what he says and any type of sincere intention = ZERO. I say "Scott" in quotes because it could  easily be Tessa, Barb, Alma - any one of a number of others at any time - logged in to that page.

But, pretending it's Scott: When he's on his fanpage it's for one of a few simple reasons, none to do with fan outreach.

For example - he's in the mood, has a little energy to burn.

You know the people who don't "keep up" with family on a consistent basis, or friends, but when they show up, they swoop in, there's a fusillade of energy, affection and fun, it's charming   -  then woosh - they're gone? Who the hell knows when you'll see them again cause they don't answer email or vm, show up for stuff, and you never hear from them until the next time? Nothing you can rely upon? Obviously, it's not news when I say that's Scott Moir's facebook fan page. And - after he's vanished, he doesn't remember what he said. That goes for in-person fan encounters too. He's just yakking. It's best-defense-is-a-good offense social skills. That's how we end up with "soon!" about him updating their webpage, and a dead webpage months later. What's coming off his keyboard is just noise.

It's not every figure skater whose position is privileged enough to be this undisciplined with fan outreach.

Scott and Tessa are reflexive liars by this point, so their first choice of an answer is always going to be bullshit, even when telling the truth is harmless to them (such as - yeah, we slacked off at that page, we kind of suck at new media! Sorry guys!).

It's like their thought bubble is: "OMG - question!

Is a lie available? Yes! Tell lie."

No matter WHAT the question.

That's how they've been trained. What matters is who's asking, not the question. FAN? Lie. 

Interview - interviews are aimed at FANs. Lie.

Lying is power. Lies make people feel in control and powerful. Tessa and Scott are so haphazard, I don't know if they're natural-born control freaks and liars or if all the lying is just expedient and half-assed because - this fan-outreach stuff - they just don't CARE. Someone told them lying is the way - it made sense - so they did it and do it. I'm sure they didn't think it through the way they'd think through something related to their skating. That's obvious.*

They didn't deconstruct their fan strategy with thorough logic because they don't ENJOY it. They're not naturally interested. Somebody - take it off our hands!

"That sounds good - FINE. Let's do that. Are we done yet?"

That's the mindset they project.

It's the people who convinced them to lie 24/7 who are the ones who like the control, who feel powerful through lying.

Scott and Tessa are forgiven a lot due to charm - good thing, too.

I know lots of fans don't care either, all they care is "Scott" made contact. They got a piece of "Scott".  (This is a very helpful behavior by fans, btw, in ways maybe some fans don't consider.)

And another reason "Scott" will show up on facebook is a sham set-up or shout out.

In between there will be random attempts at some type of normal fan page-y back and forth, usually around competitions. "Had a great time in Toronto! Thanks everyone! Back to work!" But those are erratic. His whole fan facebook is erratic.

What do I think? He and Tessa want to be left alone. None of this is anything they'd do if they didn't feel they had to and if they didn't need to cover for the fact that his "personal" fan page is a fan page too, and not his personal facebook at all. But the carelessness and lack of follow-through tell the story. They want to be spared.

The problem is that it isn't a professional management company like IMG helping Scott and Tessa to be left alone, but Skate Canada officials who are supposed to be doing a whole other type of job but aren't.

Neither Scott nor Tessa is erratic or fly-by-night where it's important to them. No matter what Scott would like people to think, he's incredibly disciplined about a lot of things outside figure skating. Things that matter - to him. 

And of course, around their skating nobody is more disciplined, consistent, systematic and intentioned than these two. This erraticism with facebook, webpages and fan outreach shows that this stuff isn't natural to them, not something that they enjoy engaging in consistently, not anything that's going to persist past Sochi, nor is it something they care about. I'm sure they have nothing against fans. They just don't care enough to interact with any type of true consideration. It's like pulling teeth as it is, with the little they DO do. Kurt Browning, they're not.

They don't need to do more, which is key here, which will damage other figure skaters at Skate Canada  - and is already happening.

Face-to-face, they'll "put that smile on" their face, start gabbing, and fans will walk away thinking they're the best.

Probably a lot of skaters and other celebs would like to skip all the outreach too, and just enjoy the fun stuff - the training, whatever perks come their way, the skating itself (or performing), the byplay with the audience and so forth, but are mature and disciplined enough to finish what they start.
And more significantly, for most skaters, bullshitting around like Scott and Tessa do isn't an option. If they don't take care of this stuff, nobody is going to volunteer do it for them. Unless they get famous.

Nobody = Barb, Debbi, Mike and Bill.

So - if regular skaters set up an "official" facebook page for the fans, and a web page, and interact, they generally discipline themselves to consistency, or they put someone in charge of acting as the "virtual" them, someone who will keep up.

So this fan outreach stuff is not something Scott and Tessa want to do, it's not natural, and while they mean well, it's low on their "to do" list. They're not changing. It's always going to be a careless, spastic, insincere element of their career.

Obviously they're making money - lots of personal appearances is one way that's visible to us. When they show up at fashion shows, for example, they're getting paid. Celebs get invited to stuff like that because it gives the media an incentive to cover the event. Maybe the fashion designer isn't much of a name, or the event, but Virtue-Moir + event (or fashion designer) becomes a reason for media coverage. Virtue-Moir make money doing stuff like that.

Since Virtue Moir half-ass their own public relations - aren't interested (or SOMETHING) in going with IMG, but are still competing, that creates an opportunity. For someone(s) else.

Barb, Debbi, Mike, Bill.

Not an opportunity for "Skate Canada" and the skaters of Skate Canada. An opportunity for individuals: Barb, Debbi, Mike, Bill.

Those four will milk the fact that they were associated with Virtue Moir, had "rich background in Olympic communications" and are experienced in "crisis communication" (Mayday! Virtue and Moir won gold!); they'll have a dvd compilation of their faces plastered all over the place doing busy, crisis-y, important things adjacent to star skaters, and in general will use their present-day starfucking as a way to qualify themselves for the lucrative public speaking, consultant and seminar circuit, long after they leave Skate Canada a wreck for someone else to fix.

Can you imagine paying for Barb MacDonald's corporate communications wisdom? Somebody will!

Long after the mess they leave behind is still hurting other figure skaters, after Scott and Tessa have moved on, Debbi, Barb, Mike and Bill will be dining out on and making money off having "handled" Scott and Tessa.

Scott and Tessa REALLY don't pay attention. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, what happens on line, stays on line and doesn't touch their lives. They have Barb, Debbi, Mike and Bill for that. If Barb, Debbi, Mike and Bill left - who'd do the dirty work on Scott and Tessa's preferred terms?

I'd bet Scott can barely remember all the different times he's posed with Jessica or how - that's all blah blah blah to him too and then gets managed by someone else. IOW, they FORGET about it. Scott forgot he said "Soon!" about his webpage, he and Tessa can't even keep track of what bullshit they said yesterday so it matches what they said today.

That's the behavior of people who want someone else to take care of that stuff - it's not their thing.

That's the behavior of someone who wants to make money and get better-than-good returns on their investments but doesn't want to educate themselves about the market or keep track, so they have Bernie Madoff do it.


Who is Bernie Madoff here?

Barb, Debbi, Bill and Mike.

The victims aren't Scott and Tessa, but other Skate Canada figure skaters, and of course, fans. See, this fan outreach and privacy management stuff is not stuff Scott and Tessa want to have to think about, and they definitely appreciate having a few services that don't come with joining IMG. They don't want to manage it themselves, cause - ew.

Shit, Scott was like the president visiting a kid in the hospital when he "hugged" Jessica in the Kiss'n'Cry after the Vancouver free-dance. Did you SEE that entourage? Did you SEE the grip Debbie Mac had on Jessica? All that was missing were ear pieces: "The package is about to descend. Launch POTUS." Until it was time, Jessica had to keep her ass parked in the seat, bored out of her mind. Jessica - stay!

Man. That's what I call PROTECTION from your fake girlfriend. All those people in the Kiss'n'Cry, including fellow Skate Canada skaters, willing and available (or perhaps "encouraged") to make it easy for Scott to get sham done so Scott doesn't have to get Jessica-interaction cooties.

Interacting with Jessica isn't natural for Scott, you see. He doesn't enjoy it. But he thinks he HAS to. Just like fan interaction. But he doesn't LIKE it. He doesn't want to take time out of his real life.

So basically, other people take care of most of it for him. They go above and beyond.

Other people = Barb, Debbi, Mike and Bill.

It's good to be Scott Moir.

But Skate Canada is not a resource-rich organization and keeping Scott Moir THIS comfortable diverts resources from the needs of less-famous skaters and short-circuits long-term, non-Virtue-Moir planning and relationship-building.

Its not Skate Canada overall that's getting a return on this resource investment, that's for sure. It's specific individuals and their future, non-Skate Canada careers that get the benefit. Those individuals are, namely, Barb MacDonald, Debbi Wilkes, Bill Thompson and Mike Slipchuk.**

See? If Barb and Debbi were doing actual MARKETING (which they don't cause neither knows what that is) of SKATE CANADA, working on the freaking SPONSOR thing, giving a fucking shit about skaters whose funding was drying up, promoting everybody competing in the program the way the USFSA does, seeing if there aren't ways to create opportunities for skaters coming up the system, seeing if maybe female skaters and not this whole "masculine" obsession isn't something they should focus on --- they really wouldn't have the time to be Scott and Tessa's full time body blockers between Scott and Tessa and the fans or between Scott/Tessa and Jessica.

NICE position to be in.

Instead of actual qualified folks in the Director of Marketing and Sponsorship departments and the Director of Corporate Communications "departments" those department titles are code for:

"Director of the Department of Whatever is Convenient for Scott and Tessa." 

Remember how Tessa told us Skate Canada asked her what she needed for the Olympic season, and one of her requests was Mary Branagan? That means that for the GP, Skate Canada paid for Mary's travel and lodging - at least. And I think that's a legitimate expense, obviously, and similar considerations have probably been shown other star skaters.

But Scott and Tessa have other, non-skating performance needs. Such as not wanting fans to officially know that they're together, always have been, have a family and have made a lifetime commitment. It's not skating-related, or Skate Canada's real business, but it makes them happy to hide, keeps them comfortable, and Skate Canada wants Scott and Tessa to be comfortable - because they're stars, and because if they're happy and comfortable, Scott and Tessa will continue having Debbi, Barb, Bill, Mike do this stuff.

Win win - for Scott/Tessa and the future income streams of SC's current Directors.

If Debbi and Barb were replaced by actual marketing professionals, the marketing professionals would be doing that job, and wouldn't have time to be Scott and Tessa's full time "Whatever You Want, Leave It to Us" bitches.

This leaves the rest of the skaters all fucked up and scrambling for attention, support, money, fairness - partly because the people who are supposed to manage critical departments are too busy being Scott and Tessa's personal flunkies. Real stuff gets put on "delayed maintenance", shuttled to the Department of Some Day or TURFED to the "Study This" floor.

None of these problems were supposed to happen. Merely by Scott and Tessa winning the Olympics BMO would beg to expand its involvement while other sponsors would be falling over each other trying to get in on the Skate Canada action, and no sponsor relationship maintenance or real marketing infrastructure would be needed. Money would be flooding in.

Well - oops.

And still two years later all Skate Canada has instead of a marketing, public relations and communications department is the Department of Keeping Scott and Tessa Happy.

Scott and Tessa aren't paying attention to how it's done, to the big picture, the real cost, or how this impacts other figure skaters, any more than Scott pays any attention to the blah blah blah coming out his mouth or keyboard.

I think they should pay attention. They're adults. They should think about others. Thinking about others is more than "manners" and acting "nice" and being "considerate" in a surface-y way. It's more than charm.

This set-up is fabulous for one other skater. It puts Jessica Dube in a wonderful position - not cause she's a star or anything to do with her skating, but because she makes a marquee contribution to the Scott and Tessa bullshit initiative.

Hey, beats working. Beats training hard, too.

Do you see how MTM, Duhamel/Radford and other pairs kill themselves not only adding difficulty, training like workhorses and taking risks, but how they kill themselves telling us they're doing it? They have to justify, prove themselves.

Jessica apparently understands she can afford to be "la la la, I'm done with D&D, I'll just do singles and school (how's school going, Jessica)."  Then it's: "Oh, I have a new partnership with Sebastien Wolfe. Yeah, we're gonna take it slow, not pressure ourselves - it's very important not to pressure ourselves. Like, the 3-twist, we don't want to push that right away. We're new. "

Take-it-easy style. And at the same time, gosh it would be swell to get Skate Canada or another international assignment, and be on the national podium.

Then she's treated as the headliner at Challenge. Barb tweets a heads-up so we know when Jessica takes the ice.

Gee, how come other Canadian pairs turn themselves inside-out trying to improve, taking risks - how come Lawrence/Sweigers skate challenging choreography instead of staying within what THEY can do comfortably? How come they have to do a content-rich program even if they're shaky and wobble through it, while Jessica can swoon through her empty program and end up with not just the same season schedule she had with Bryce, but the added benefit of Skate Canada upselling her singles career as being on the freaking Olympic track?

And incidentally - if you know what a zealously conditioned pairs-skating female looks like - of any height or any body type - you know that's not what Jessica Dube looks like.

The other teams feel insecure, but Jessica - who just finished in seventh at Challenge after being second in the short, and who finished near the basement in her Grand Prix - is all relaxed? She can take her time, not prove anything in a hurry - did you hear she and Sebastien were new?

It's good to be Jessica Dube.

Scott and Tessa are privileged in ways beyond $$, but it's on the backs of lesser figure skaters and at cost to the health of their beloved "Skate Canada."

What if Paul/Islam said - eh. I hate facebook. They shut down their facebooks, no longer accepted fans. What if they went off twitter - who needs twitter. 

Would Barb, Debbi, Bill and Mike rush in and say - oh, you just take care of yourselves, Alex and Mitch! Alex - you make sure your rear end (or "upper thigh") is nice and healed. Oh, and don't tell people you had surgery - man, you're in the middle of a competitive season! Say you feel great and skating is "such a treat!" Alex - what the hell there's a conflict between competing and school? Honey, don't say that! Say school gives you balance and you LOVE school but skating in no way interferes with school. And don't worry about the internet - we'll handle it.

We'll take care of it all for you, Alex and Mitch!

Shit, if Tessa couldn't take a test when/if she's actually in school because of competition, Barb would slap on a Tessa wig and wade in to take the damn final for her. It's not like Barb's got other stuff to do.

And while I don't think the Moir Family is the Rasputin of all of this, I think absolutely they support Debbi, Barb, Mike and Bill in their ... jobs - because Moirs are doing just fine. While other figure skaters eat Ramen noodles when it's time for the annual skate boot purchase (not high profile enough to get sponsored by Harlick or other manufacturer), or when they're sweating paying for ice time, Alma is posing in a hard hat at a brand new freaking RINK when the Moirs already have another one in their backyard.

It might be difficult for them to see that what's good for Scott and Tessa isn't necessarily good for the rest of Skate Canada's skaters and may actually be detrimental to Skate Canada if those who are supposed to be paying attention to those other skaters are more concerned with leaching off Scott and Tessa's spotlight.

I know it's no fun to pay attention to all this type of stuff, Scott and Tessa. But I think you should give it a fucking try.

*What is the ONE thing, internet-wise, we can depend upon? The rotation of Jessica Dube's public facebook profiles showing that her boyfriend is indeed, still Scott Moir, and is CURRENTLY her boyfriend - they keep those profile pics updated. And they make certain to slide in  back-up photos from whatever facebook gets the job, and whatever reach-outs Barb can slip in. Of all the internet stuff,, Scott's facebook fanpage. They make certain to show up at some point to be seen in the audience when the other competes. That stands out to me. Everything else is sort of "fuck it." THAT - his private life, you can set your watch by it. The priority is noteworthy - professional stuff is EH. Private stuff, they stay ON it and make sure we know about it and NEVER miss the opportunity to work it in there. Never seen a public figure so half-assed about their professional stuff but so doggone dogged about letting you see their personal life - whether you want to see it or not.

**Although after his twitter experience ("Two! Two! Tessa and Scott! Two!") Mike Slipchuk's spidey sense seems to have sensed trouble ahead. His public profile went way down and when he does surface he is Mr. Up-And-Coming-Skate-Canada-Figure-Skater's best friend. He's re-branding himself as Mr. Regional Development.  But rewind a season or two, and he was all up in Scott, Tessa and the Jessica thing's business, on camera and off.


  1. I came across something relating to Ayn Rand today and I remembered that T said her favourite book is The Fountainhead. At the time, I thought ?? except that it's a favourite of a lot of "nerds" (as she's described herself in the past, definitley not an insult!). Now I see that that school of thought may be an integral part of her justification ie. free to create my art. Can't complain about her results, but...I don't see how professional management would take more of their time, more of their effort dealing with pedestrian affairs? I guess it's about being protected and that centres around the TS relationship Q.

    Glad you're exploring the pairs question more OC!! It seems like half of SC are morons and half of SC are saints to not complain. How D/W can be mentioned in the same breath as MT/M and D/R is beyond me, and I will be overjoyed if L/S can take the bronze at Nats.

  2. ^ continued: the way D/W's performances declined from gp#1 to gp#2, I think there's hope for the latter :)

  3. Yeah - that's exactly it - they don't want to deal with the whole public relations thing - but how would professional management take more of their time? It wouldn't.

    But would professional management get neck deep in Jessica logistics the way Skate Canada has? No. Because the way Skate Canada does it is an outright hoax, bald-faced lying and actually putting personnel on it. IMG is more about putting out the message they want and ignoring the rest. IMG would't pitch in with an only on facebook thing while being sanctimonious and evasive in the mainstream media. Both Tanith AND Evan, whatever the IMG personnel may have privately suspected - were public with their "relationship".

    And the Jessica situation was entrenched long before the Olympics.

    It also pretty much comprises Barb and Debbi's JOBs. Removing the Scott and Tessa from Debbi and Barb's marketing/pr control would also remove the celebrity element from their resume. Everyone would know VM were with IMG, and Barb and Debbi would have to recite their SC-specific accomplishments.

    The Dube/Wolfe situation is absolutely egregious.

  4. This year Canadian Nationals will be interesting for sure, particularly in pairs and dance and will reveal Skate Canada's politicking...for instance in dance we know that V/M and Weaver/Poje are 1 and 2 but what happens with Ralph/Hill, Paul/Islam and then Gilles/Poirier...judging from the challenge results you would think that Paul Poirier is a superstar...I have a feeling that dance will be more controversial than pairs, I also think that if L/S skate 90% clean - they will finish 3rd on the podium no questions asked...
    Back to V/M - I agree that if they did sign with IMG - at least Barb would really have nothing to stop the GP final...let the fan wars between V/M and D/W ubers continue...

  5. Regarding this post - you are right - they really are not concerned about fans. Tessa appears to be extremely aware of her surroundings and she in particular wants a wall put up between the public persona and her private one. In a way I can't blame her since the females in this sport are harshly criticized by judges, commentators, coaches, skater moms, let alone fellow peers...and she appears to be an introvert in personality...but I agree with oc that if V/M would have signed with IMG prior to 2008 this whole debacle would have been you say this is a control issue...I am hoping that David Pelletier is totally out of the picture in terms of their management...

  6. Ugh, thank you! Jessica is not what a well trained pairs girl looks like. In some of the photos from TEB, she's bulging out of her dress. She has a totally cute figure but damn girl, hit the gym a bit more before the next competition. I see no similarities between her and Kirsten, Meagan or Paige.

  7. Letting a professional website expire like that is just embarrassing for everyone involved. And if they don't care that it expired like that, it's even more embarrassing. Have a website, or don't have one. Fine. But if you have one, use the damn thing, don't neglect it.

    The way these two are marketed is face-palm inducing. Especially because Skate Canada officials spend so much time lamenting the loss of their sponsors and blaming it all on the economy or the lack of interest after the Olympics. Gee guys, to build and maintain interest you have to know how to properly market your skaters to the public. It's not all that difficult! It doesn't take up all of their time (in fact, it takes up very little). Encourage them to get good representation and start from there! Weaver and Poje did so. And I don't believe, in signing with IMG, that they're inundated with time-consuming projects that keep them from their skating. Nope! They do, however, have a nice website that's regularly updated, a co-twitter account, and interact with fans in a professional manner. They aren't blabbing about their personal life. No one expects them to do so. But they aren't spreading false stories and trying to mislead fans either. They're smart in how they've handled things.

  8. ^Exactly - it's not time consuming when you're with professional management. Not to mention the limited time investment versus pay-off is all in your favor. IMG is the mack daddy of providing seamless protective cover for one's personal life while sustaining the appearance of being accessible and visible.

    VM ought to have signed with IMG long ago. Instead they went with family and with insular connections - which apparently includes SC personnel, they came up with the Jessica hoax - a rip-off of the fauxmances done in public life all the time, only of course since this is Skate Canada they overreached, missed the point, and ended up with a toxic version that absolutely paints them into a corner, implicates practically an army of people in unethical shenanigans, and is difficult to back out of - or so they think.

    Not to mention with Debbi and especially Barb dedicated to it, what would those people do with themselves if these responsibilities were taken away?

    I feel there's a Moir or two who might have to find other ways to contribute as well, if VM were managed by people with sense. This sham is like an employment project for people who need or want work. It's a pork barrel project.

    As to the rest of the blatant "we don't give a fuckery" how do they expect sponsors to care, if you act like you don't give a shit? I'm sure they kiss the ass of any sponsor who shows an interest in SC, but most companies don't like to partner up with organizations who make a spectacle of their contempt for the prospective client/market.

    Skate Canada's image is that they think they're better, smarter and more important than the public, and their market scheme - what there is of it - appears geared around emphasizing that they are better than you and you ought to be thrilled by them.

    Sponsors can pick up on that message too you know. Most of them have actual marketing professionals in their departments who know what SC is doing is a problem.

    ^As to Jessica's physical conditioning - right - of course it's not about having curves, or what size she is - it's how trained and conditioned she is. She went through the entire Olympic 2009-2010 season without her body altering a whit. That's unbelievable. That's not how it works for the athlete's body when you're training at intensity in that type of environment. Skaters often bulk up/fill-out during the summer (on purpose) and by the end of the season they look like whippets - it's just what happens. It's not about dieting. It's also why it's impossible to train at that intensity year round, why figure skaters train to peak at certain times. Jessica isn't doing that type of training. She shows up at the end of the summer looking like she's got her show skate body, and she goes through the season with a show skater body that doesn't alter. That's not what happens if you're training with intensity, pushing yourself to improve. Not for men, not for women.

  9. "That's not what happens if you're training with intensity, pushing yourself to improve. Not for men, not for women."

    There must not be a huge incentive to push yourself if you're already guaranteed a "star" position in the SC world. She's one lucky skater.