Briton Anton Casey, who fled to Australia in January after being slammed for denigrating public transport commuters, has made headlines again – this time on purpose.
In what appears to be a bid for an online makeover, the 39-year-old is believed to have posted a video resume of himself on YouTube two weeks ago.
The voice-over points to Mr Casey’s “great success” as well as his “deep passion for mentoring” in the 75-second clip which consists of a series of photos, including one of Marina Bay.
Since the end of last month, at least seven articles about Mr Casey, a former wealth manager here, have also popped up online – mostly on sites where users are encouraged to post articles.
While the articles include his name in the headlines, such as “Business leaders like Anton Casey see Singapore as an emerging market”, they seldom quote him.
An article on website SocialTimes discusses how Mr Casey is “optimistic” about Singapore’s “advances in bitcoin ATM technology”, while another write-up on AllVoices refers to him as an expert advocating for the development of 3D printing here.
Other articles focus on his contributions to charity organisations such as The Little Sisters Fund and Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore.
All of them seemed to be published around the same time, from April 29 to May 2. Some were labelled as sponsored posts.
The Sunday Times also came across websites such as anton casey.org and antoncasey.net dedicated to listing his professional experience and philanthropic work.
Associate Professor Augustine Pang from Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information suggested that the articles might be a way to “populate cyberspace with positive stories” and “crowd out” negative articles. “If that is the case, it is a common tactic in image management,” added Dr Pang, who studies crisis, image and reputation management.
Commenting on industry practices, Asia PR Werkz managing director Cho Pei Lin said it is common for companies, brands or individuals who have undergone a crisis to embark on a “renewal campaign” to regain the public’s confidence. This is also important because “it has become common practice for employers to run online searches before they hire… so it can be crucial for a certain kind of clean-up to be done.”
But both Dr Pang and Ms Cho see a limit to such a strategy. Said Ms Cho: “The reality is a lot of people rely on word of mouth and do their own in-depth research, so you cannot pull wool over their eyes.”
Dr Pang added: “Words are important, actions are more important.”
Attempts to contact Mr Casey have been unsuccessful. Calls were not returned, and an e-mail to his account drew the message: “Please note that due to spam issues this account has now been closed and messages will not be seen.”
Meanwhile a spokesman for one website where an article entitled “Financial professional Anton Casey optimistic about Singapore Real Estate Market” was posted said it had been uploaded by a user unaffiliated with its staff. He added that the “unwanted article” was removed as it went against the site’s policy.