After a two-month hiatus, Jessica Mulroney is back on Instagram.
Following a self-imposed break from social media following her attack on Black influencer Sasha Exeter in June, Mulroney posted a short video on Tuesday afternoon. The occasion? Her twin boys’ 10th birthday.
Mulroney herself isn’t in the video, but it features her husband Ben singing “Happy Birthday” to their sons Brian and John, with their daughter Ivy excitedly chatting about cake.
One of the first comments on the post comes from actress and writer Mindy Kaling, who wishes the boys a happy birthday. Kaling is one of the celebrities Mulroney has worked with as a stylist, along with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau. Shania Twain and Meghan Markle. She and the Duchess of Sussex became friends while Markle was shooting “Suits” in Toronto, and the Mulroney twins were in the 2018 royal wedding.
In her Instagram caption, Mulroney alludes to but doesn’t directly address the reason she’s been absent from social media for so long.
“My incredible family have had to witness their mom in the worst state,” she wrote. “These two boys have not left my side and gave me the will to live and work hard when everything fell apart.”
She ends her caption with “only up from here.”
Everything “fell apart,” in her words, in the spring, when Sasha Exeter, a Toronto-based influencer who is Black, wrote on Instagram that she hoped other influencers would speak out about racism following the death of George Floyd. Exeter said she then received a number of messages from Mulroney, who appeared to take the general callout as a personal attack. Exeter said Mulroney threatened her brand partnerships, effectively endangering her career.
Mulroney publicly apologized, writing in a since-deleted Instagram comment, “I promise to continue to learn and listen on how I can use my privilege to elevate and support black voices.”
But after that had played out publicly, she allegedly sent Exeter a DM threatening to sue her for libel. Exeter posted a screenshot of the message, calling it an example of “textbook white privilege.”
Mulroney lost her CTV show, stepped down from the charity she co-founded, and was dropped from numerous brand partnerships, including deals with Smash + Tess, Hudson’s Bay and “Good Morning America.” Her husband stepped down from his job at eTalk to “create a space” for people of colour, although he’ll still contribute to the show on “special assignments” including red carpet awards coverage.
Influential gossip blogger Elaine Lui, who worked with Ben Mulroney at eTalk for 15 years, wrote that she had heard that the couple was taking note of public figures who supported Exeter. “It’s also been shared on the whisper network that she’s telling those who are continuing to engage with her privately that ‘there are two sides to every story,’ suggesting that she doesn’t feel she’s as in the wrong as she actually is,” Lui wrote.
According to the last message Mulroney posted to Twitter, she’s been taking time to “reflect, learn and focus on my family.”
Celebrities recovering from a scandal, after attempting to do damage control, apologize, and lay low for a while, will often embark on an apology tour.
“You can pick [an interviewer] who’s a little more friendly, but also credible, that will give you some tough questions, but not too tough,” Jamie Diaferia, CEO of the PR company Infinite Global, told Vice. “Then you carefully script out the messaging—not so that it appears to be disingenuous, but so that you at least have a sense of what you’re going to say, and it’s very carefully controlled.”
Another PR executive who specializes in crisis communications, Juda Engelmayer of HeraldPR, told the outlet that the fallout form celebrity scandals rarely lasts very long.
“Give it a few months,” Engelmayer said. “Celebrity-watchers have a short attention span for scandal if they like you. As long as you’re doing better, and keeping me happy, and keeping me entertained, I’ll forgive you.”
Exeter, for her part, has definitely not been silent over the last few months. She’s used her platform to show off her stylish face masks, match outfits with her adorable daughter Maxwell, and advocate for Breonna Taylor.
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