Source Exclusive: Jon Gosselin and Media Execs talk Hip-Hop, Internet Rumors, and how the Digital Age Impacts Public Reputations at Sundance Film Festival
As the 40th Annual Sundance Film Festival comes to a wrap, big names headlined many of the feature events and movie premieres in Park City. As always, the festival had a focus on cutting-edge and thought-provoking technology as well as panels about how the digital age continues to impact the reputation of not just celebrities, but average people as well. Jon Gosselin, reality star turned DJ, who has endured his share of very public rumors, sat down with us to speak about his love of hip-hop music and navigating misinformation and rumors that spread like wildfire in the digital age while Media.com founder James Mawhinney discussed what celebrities and non-celebrities alike can do to manage their public reputation.
After spinning an amazing two-hour set at the Media.com x The Caspian Agency’s “Beats & Burgers Party,” one of Sundance’s hottest events, Gosselin sat down with The Source to discuss his transition from reality star to DJ, explaining that he has always had a passion for music and actually started DJing in 1993, long before he had any of his eight children. Following the end of his reality show, he returned to DJing in 2014, explaining that the hardest change upon returning after 20 years was making the transition from vinyl to digital technologies.
As for some of his favorite DJs that he looks to for inspiration, he listed DJ Monster, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and DJ Image. Regarding some of his favorite artists, Gosselin notes that he prefers old school, but is also an open-format DJ and enjoys mixing in newer artists as well, playing at diverse clubs and venues around the country. Although he has dabbled into creating his own music (he has two songs on Spotify), he says that his true passion is the DJ experience as well as working behind the scenes with SEO and marketing (Gosselin had a career in IT before pursuing his reality show full-time).
As to how hip-hop has influenced reality TV and vice versa, Gosselin explains that there are so many spin-off shows now, noting that when he began in 2006, there were not that many reality TV shows, but now it seems that there are so many reality shows, not just on television, but the internet as well and that many center around the music experience. He notes that a lot of current reality show participants reach out to him for advice about navigating the pros and cons of the reality television experience.
As for the cons, Gosselin shares his own experience with the spread of tabloid rumors following his very public divorce with his ex-wife Kate. While the rumors surrounding Gosselin have died down over the years, he notes that it was a rough time navigating the misinformation surrounding his personal life.
Joining Gosselin at the experience was Australian entrepreneur and businessman James Mawhinney, who in the wake of an uncontrollable wildfire of misinformation, lost his business, family home, and shining reputation — not to mention the financial, physical, and mental toll it took on hundreds of innocent people affected by the fallout. Instead of giving up, James refocused his energy and invested $20 MIL to createMedia.com, the world’s first online network that verifies users and fully ensures the integrity of news information.
Mawhinney spoke to The Source about reputation management and misinformation and how the average person can protect their reputation online, saying that “there’s a lot of tools out there, but many of them are not that effective. What we’ve done is create a safe online place where all profiles are verified whether you are an A-lister, a business, a brand, or an average individual. If you have something that is said about you in the media and you want to make a public statement, you can use the platform to make a personal statement.”
While Mawhinney explains that the platform’s format is similar to social media, there is no comment feature, leaving the user in control of the statements that he or she makes.
As for how users are verified, Mawhinney shares that the platform utilizes the same technology that banks use to verify the identities of their customers to make sure that money laundering isn’t taking place, noting that on social media, information laundering is often taking place, leaving a wake of helpless victims.
Mawhinney emphasized the fact that reputation management is an important part of mental health and explaining how putting the power back in a person’s hands by ensuring they control their own narrative is important in protecting not just their own reputation, but their own mental health as well.
While Gosselin is open in sharing his own struggles with public misinformation, he ends the interview on a positive note, noting that while he may have suffered some very public scrutiny, there were also many pros regarding his time in the public eye, namely that his eight children are well-provided for and have grown into adults, noting that the sextuplets are already 20 years old and just one year away from being able to get into a nightclub and listen to their dad DJ!