Sinclair Hires Crisis PR Fixer with Ties to Trump… and Girls Gone Wild

Ronn Torossian Has Represented a Trump Family Foundation, a former Trump Organization Advisor, and the Founder of Girls Gone Wild – He Was Also Approached by Manafort and Gates to Discuss PR Work for Billionaires and the Ukrainian Government


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following a storm of critical media coverage after compelling its local anchors to read the same anti-media political talking points word for word and bookending an Allied Progress ad critical of the move with “must run” attacks on the organization, Sinclair Broadcast Group has retained the crisis communications services of Ronn Torossian, a public relations executive and Republican activist with Trump ties.

Once described by the New York Times as a “brash and aggressively outspoken” “midlevel publicist with high-level ambitions,” Torossian, like Sinclair, has close ties to the Trump world. He has represented a Trump family foundation, a former Trump Organization advisor, and was once approached by Trump campaign leaders Paul Manafort and Rick Gates about doing work for billionaires and the Ukrainian government.

Sinclair is clearly in crisis mode and they’ve turned to a PR fixer from the Trump orbit to help them out – a clear sign of desperation as the company continues to defend its unfathomable decision to force anchors at its local stations to read the exact same political talking points on air, word for word,” said Karl Frisch, executive director of Allied Progress.

He continued, “This is a guy who has defended pornographers, cigarette and gambling interests, and people very close to President Trump. Given Sinclair’s shaky grasp of ‘right and wrong,’ the company should feel right at home with Torossian.”

Who is Ronn Torossian?

  • Sinclair Broadcast Group “hired Ronn Torossian’s 5W for ongoing PR work” in April, after facing “a storm of criticism for mandating that local anchors read scripted pieces” condemning reporting on other stations. The announcement followed Sinclair’s “most recent PR dustup” surrounding “a six-figure ad buy placed on four of its stations (DC, Baltimore, Des Moines, Seattle) by liberal watchdog group Allied Progress that opposes the broadcaster’s $3.9B acquisition of Tribune Media, which would extend its reach into 72 percent of US households. Sinclair sandwiched the AP ads, which featured local anchors reading the HQ political talking points, with disclaimers. [Kevin McCauley, “5W’s Torossian Takes on Sinclair Broadcast Group,” O’Dwyer’s, 04/09/18.]
  • A 2005 New York Times profile described Torossian as a “brash and aggressively outspoken” “midlevel publicist with high-level ambitions.” Ronn Torossian is the founder, president and CEO of 5WPR, a public relations firm based in New York. He “has developed strategic marketing campaigns for a diverse client roster that includes Sparkling Ice, KRUPS, L’Oréal, Unilever, Walgreens and JetSmarter and has represented top global brands including Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Microsoft.” [Biography, Ronn Torossian, accessed 04/09/18; Steven Kurutz, “Brash P.R. Guy Grabs Clients, Ink,” The New York Times, 02/20/05.]
  • Torossian is a Sheldon Adelson fanboy. He authored an op-ed in the conservative Daily Caller headlined, “Sheldon Adelson Is A Role Model And American Hero.” Torossian wrote, “If America had more people as devoted to success as Adelson, we would be in a better place.” [Ronn Torossian, “Sheldon Adelson Is A Role Model And American Hero,” The Daily Caller, 04/27/15]
  • Torossian said he was approached by Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in 2012 “to discuss a prospective PR campaign ‘for billionaires and the Ukrainian government.'” In 2017, Torossian told Business Insider that Manafort and Gates asked “if he could avoid registering with the Justice Department as a foreign agent while he worked for them — and whether he would agree to be paid from offshore accounts.” [Natasha Bertrand, “NY publicist says Manafort wanted to pay him for Ukraine work via offshore accounts — to make ‘way more money,'” Business Insider, 11/01/17]
  • Torossian served on the vice chairman’s council of major Republican Party organization. In 2016, Ronn Torossian served on the Republican Jewish Coalition Vice Chairman’s Council. [Ronn Torossian, “Trump Will Be President; Deal With It,” The Algemeiner, 11/14/16]
  • Torossian represented “the Trinity Broadcasting Network and its evangelical founder, Paul Crouch…and the Likud Party of Israel.” Torossian represented “the Trinity Broadcasting Network and its evangelical founder, Paul Crouch, along with the McDonald’s Corporation, Seagram’s Coolers and the Likud Party of Israel.” [Steven Kurutz, “Brash P.R. Guy Grabs Clients, Ink,” The New York Times, 02/20/05]
  • In addition to these evangelical religious figures and conservative international political organizations, Torossian represented “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis. Torossian was a spokesman for “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis after he was “sued by a Las Vegas Strip casino for $2 million in gambling debts.” [Oskar Garcia, “‘Girls Gone Wild’ founder sued by Las Vegas casino,” Mobile Register, 07/02/08; “‘Girls Gone Wild’ founder is one guy gone mild,” The Columbus Dispatch, 04/11/07; Judy L. Thomas, “First Family Church spent thousands on legal fees, document indicates,” The Kansas City Star, 04/25/09]
  • Torossian represented Sean Carlson, who was accused of committing “‘assault with intent to commit a felony and forcible oral copulation.'” Although the LAPD found insufficient evidence to charge Carlson, “several women” came forward to accuse Carlson of “sexual misconduct.” [Lorraine Ali and Richard Winton, “Women allege sexual misconduct by FYF founder recently axed by Goldenvoice,” Los Angeles Times, 11/15/17.]
  • Torossian said that “only extreme self-hatred or worship at the altar of liberalism could compel any sane Jew to vote for Obama.” According to Torossian, “Only extreme self-hatred or worship at the altar of liberalism could compel any sane Jew to vote for Obama.” [Ronn Torossian, “The Impact of the Obama Campaign Israel Video,The Algemeiner, 01/23/12]
  • Torossian’s 5WPR has represented the online gaming and electronic cigarette industries. “‘In light of the recent news that Kik raised nearly $100 Million Dollars in an ICO, we recognize the importance of a specific practice around ICO communications.  ICO’s – at launch and after – have unique public relations strategies and campaigns and we understand how to build those brands. As we were at the outset of online gaming, electronic cigarettes and other fast growing industries, we too will excel at ICO communications. Our ICO clients have been featured in mainstream business and technology media, coin trade industry publications; we create content, we have secured influencers and celebrities to endorse and participate in ICO campaigns.  We understand community management and the importance of the crypto and investor communities and are excited to grow in the ICO space,’ said Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR.” [“5WPR Launches Specialized ICO Communications Division,” Cision, 09/27/17]

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