Judy Smith, the D.C. fixer upon whose life Shonda Rhimes loosely based Scandal‘s “Olivia Pope,” played by Kerry Washington, is headed to Baltimore to handle the public relations crisis faced by local officials, reports the WBAL-TV.
Officials, including Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, have faced pointed criticism after the death of 25-year-old black man Freddie Gray, particularly when protests turned violent Monday.
Communications expert Smith, known as a “fixer,” is no stranger to turning around perceptions. She’s worked with former Washington Mayor Marion Barry during a drug scandal, ex-Sen. Larry Craig after a sex sting and celebrity chef Paula Deen when she was accused of racism.
Smith is the former assistant U.S. attorney and deputy press secretary in George H.W. Bush.
Rawlings-Blake came under particularly heavy fire for referring to protesters as “thugs.” She apologized for the statement, blaming her “anger interpreter,” but the damage has already been done. Being known as the mayor who referred to hurting youth as thugs might not be a good look when election time rolls around.
Hopefully, Ms. Smith can handle it for her.