Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Questions Linger About The Departure Of Pence's Communications Director

State of Indiana

Governor Pence‘s communications director has resigned weeks after the controversy over the state‘s religious freedom law.

But Christy Denault says her decision to leave is to spend more time with her family, and not because of the RFRA backlash.

She says she wants to spend more time with her 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old triplet sons.

Josh Boyd is an associate professor in Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication.

He says there’s no way to know for sure why Denault resigned, but being a casualty of a public relations snafu is one of the hazards of the profession.

“Sometimes people leave because they’re frustrated that their advice was not followed.  Other times people leave because they gave bad advice and they’re forced out or encouraged to do something else," says Boyd. "I don’t know what it is in this situation, but certainly the timing makes you think that this was a precipitating event.”

The state has also hired an outside public relations firm to restore its image in the wake of the RFRA controversy.

Boyd says bringing in an outside firm doesn’t always mean the in-house public relations staff has to get the boot.

“A lot of times communications directors will work with outside agencies," says Boyd. "So, the outside agency might pitch different ideas and plans and proposals and then the communications director or the PR director will make the decision. So, it’s not unusual for them to work together.”

Boyd says in this case hiring an outside firm appears to be more about making a statement that Indiana is paying attention to what the rest of the country thinks than about a condemnation of the current PR staff.

Denault has agreed to stay in her job until May 22nd to help her successor with the transition.

A new Communications Director has not been named.

Related Content