High-profile clients can bring problems and lifestyle choices that make their security more challenging to organize and maintain. For instance, when a client has a drug or alcohol problem, this can impact how they interact with their executive protection team and can result in them putting themselves in harm’s way, exposing themselves to dangerous individuals, or creating situations hazardous to Executive Protection teams to bail them out of.
In certain scenarios, clients may visit a bar, accompanied by their protection team. During such outings, there might be instances where the client initiates flirtatious behavior with a woman at the bar, despite her boyfriend’s presence. Consequently, when the boyfriend reacts, the client insists that the security detail intervene. This places the security team in a challenging position, as they are required to handle the situation and ensure the client’s well-being. Unfortunately, these circumstances could potentially lead to conflicts involving the client, other individuals, or even the Executive Protection Agent.
Sometimes, the biggest threat to the client is themselves.
Many reputable executive protection companies decline to work with these clients who consistently engage in situations involving the use of force, or worse, deadly force. It becomes particularly concerning when these clients exhibit an excessive fascination with firearms and may potentially use weapons themselves or encourage others to do so. Such behavior creates hazardous circumstances, and these clients also have unrealistic expectations, assuming that their executive protection team should be readily prepared and willing to employ deadly force without proper justification.
Dealing with a Toxic Client
When you have a toxic client, most people around them are also unhealthy. A difficult situation for a protection team is when the client does not like security or their friends and entourage do not like security. This means they intentionally sabotage the security team, which is frustrating and dangerous. For instance, clients may have friends who want to take advantage of them for money or fame and try to put a wedge between them and their security. This can be done in simple ways, such as telling the security that the client will be leaving via door #1 when the friend takes the client out of door #2. When the security is not there waiting for them, it looks terrible, and the friend blames the security and calls them useless and disorganized. This has happened before and is a true story.
There can also be enormous challenges within a poorly organized security team. Often, celebrities will choose to be surrounded by ‘yes’ men, including in their own security detail. This creates a culture where security feels they must do whatever the celebrity says. There have been documented incidents of stars abusing or assaulting their security agent, and because the Director of Security is a ‘yes’ man, this is permitted without any problem. The toxicity of the working environment then permeates. This means the security agent being verbally or physically assaulted is much more likely to find this behavior acceptable and carry it out against their colleagues, civilians, or nuisances like paparazzi. Over time, this can create perilous situations and damage the celebrity’s reputation tenfold.
There is no winning in a situation with a client like this. These clients deliberately engineer scenarios to ensure the failure of the security team, finding amusement in their shortcomings. This toxic culture pervades and escalates, giving rise to progressively perilous situations. As a result, the security team may face the risk of being terminated on a monthly basis or even more frequently.
Celebrity Security Challenges
Certain situations may appear harmless at first glance, but they can conceal underlying dangers. For instance, a celebrity might inform the paparazzi of their whereabouts via text message without notifying their security team. Consequently, upon arrival, a swarm of paparazzi could create disruptions and unforeseen risks, potentially attracting stalkers or posing threats from dangerous individuals. Security personnel require the opportunity to prepare for such instances to ensure the client’s safety. However, the client undermines their ability to organize and respond effectively. In other cases, clients may demand that security drive separately and then deliberately lose the security vehicle. This is both reckless and dangerous as the client exposes themselves to unnecessary risks.
Clients often exhibit a complex love-hate dynamic with their security. While they recognize the importance of security for their safety, they may find it costly or intrusive to their privacy. At times, they might even fabricate reasons to dismiss their security team after complaining about their agents. However, the moment a genuine threat arises, they swiftly retract their stance and demand the immediate reinstatement of their security team.
It is crucial for high-profile clients to comprehend the indispensability of their security team. Their security personnel are there not only to reactively respond to threats but also to proactively prevent potential dangers. If a security team is effectively fulfilling its responsibilities, dangerous situations should be minimized or eliminated.
Establishing a positive work culture and fostering a healthy relationship with the client are paramount. Merely being famous or wealthy does not warrant tolerating detrimental or dangerous behavior. Clients who knowingly put themselves at risk should be cautiously approached or even avoided altogether. Clients who consistently reject the guidance and advice of their protection team inadvertently amplify the hazards in their lives, making their circumstances increasingly unpredictable and perilous.