To Protect or Not To Protect: That is the Question

Prince Harry's battle for security & AI Threats to Your Clients Image and Reputation

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Welcome to another edition of On the Circuit.

Buckle up as we cast an eye over recent events causing a stir in the security world. Leading the charge, we delve into the ongoing drama of Prince Harry's battle for security and look to get you in on the debate.

We're also exploring the curious case of celebrity videos on Cameo being hijacked for Russian disinformation, and we turn to industry experts Anton Kalaydjian and Elijah Shaw for advice on protecting VIPs.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or want to stay ahead of the curve, we’ll arm you with informed perspectives that will fuel your conversations. Let's get into it!

Top Story

To Protect or Not to Protect: That is the Question.

Prince harry looking sad, angry and sulky

The long-drawn-out Prince Harry protection saga is back on the radar in a story with more twists than a pretzel factory. In the latest developments, his legal team is challenging the UK government's decision to remove his security detail.

Here’s a recap of the main points as Harry argues that the lack of security puts his family at significant risk.

Legal Tango: Harry's legal eagle argues that the Royal and VIP Executive Committee, or RAVEC, are unfairly biased. They're accused of playing it fast and loose with their risk assessment, leaving Harry feeling more exposed than a tourist in a London downpour.

UK's Reputation on the Line: His attorney argues that if Harry gets into trouble, it's not just a royal headache – it's a black eye for the UK's rep. After all, an attack on a prince isn't exactly good PR.

No Private Security Please, We're British: Harry tried to foot the bill for his own police protection, but the government said, "No, thank you." They're not keen on renting out their officers as hired help, even if the person footing the bill has deep pockets.

Security à la Carte?: The government's now offering Harry security on a case-by-case basis. Harry's not keen, though. He wants something a little more reliable than a "maybe/maybe not" kind of deal.

Counting Pennies: The government's pointing at their wallet, saying there's only so much to go around for security. They did roll out the red carpet for Harry at some previous events, but it seems they're not ready to open the security tap full flow.

Jury Selection: Harry also has a bone to pick with the committee's lineup, especially with some royal staff in the mix. He's hinting at a conflict of interest, like asking a fox to guard the henhouse.

Tabloid Troubles: Meanwhile, Harry's also juggling lawsuits against the British tabloids. He's got more court time than Rodger Federer, with cases about libel and some underhanded methods of getting scoops.

This situation highlights the complexity of a public figure's right to safety as their public profile alters, a situation you could find yourself having to deal with at any time.

For the UK government, it’s like finding yourself in a hostage situation and not wanting to pay the ransom and set a precedent. However, in this case, the government is playing the role of hostage and negotiator.

Much of the public support for Harry has fallen away in recent times due to the manner in which these grievances have played out. However, as Protectors, this case is a reminder of the complexities of dealing with prominent public figures. And, if Harry isn't successful in reinstating his state protection, your company could be getting a call to support his next trip home!

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🏎️ Red Bull amps up security for Max Verstappen at the Mexican GP after boos in the US. Two bodyguards on deck for the F1 star!

Working with a VIP Doesn’t Make You One

An arrogant bodyguard stands with hands in pockets

In the high-stakes world of celebrity protection, some agents get a little too dazzled by their star-studded clients, leading to a case of inflated egos and snooty attitudes. 

Elijah Shaw, no stranger to A-list clients, cautions us against client-status snobbery and warns that today's hotshot client can quickly become tomorrow's trivia question.

The lesson here is simple but profound: don't let your client's fame turn you into a snob. The close protection world is small, and if you burn bridges by acting like you're the king of the castle, you might just find yourself a lonely monarch when the party's over.

Remember to stay humble, keep it professional, and remember that no matter how bright your client shines, it's your skills and relationships that keep you in the game.

If you enjoyed this article and want more great content from across the industry, then subscribe to the Circuit Magazine >


The Israel-Hamas War's Final Phase?

Israel's military campaign in Gaza is nearing its final phase, with a likely reoccupation and ensuing insurgency. Israeli tanks have advanced towards Khan Younis, southern Gaza's largest city, following a ceasefire breakdown with Hamas. The U.S. has indicated time-limited support for Israel's actions. In northern Gaza, heavy fighting has led to significant Israeli control, but ceasefire prospects are fading with escalating demands from both sides.

The southern Gaza region, housing 1.7 million refugees, is now a major combat zone, with Israel aiming to topple Hamas despite international pressure to minimize civilian casualties. Israel's military superiority facilitates operations in both northern and southern Gaza, while balancing threats from Hezbollah and Iranian-aligned militias.

Post-conflict, Israel plans to declare victory and reduce military presence, but faces the challenge of managing a potential insurgency and economic strain from the prolonged conflict. Diplomatic efforts and regional dynamics are shifting as Israel consolidates control over Gaza.

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Celebrity Protection Deep Dive

Celebrity protection may be the most iconic form of physical protection but is it also the most challenging? Today, we’re taking a deep dive into this often-misrepresented area of security. We’re going behind the scenes with two of the most prominent celebrity protection experts to debunk myths and paint a picture of what it’s like to operate at the highest level in this field.

On the show this week, Phelim is joined by Elijah Shaw and guest, Anton Kalaydjian, CEO and founder of Guardian Security. By the end of this episode, you’ll be left in no doubt as to what it takes to be a celebrity protector and what’s required to carve out a successful career in this specialized sector.

Join us as we go behind the scenes of celebrity protection and we discuss:

  • Is celebrity protection the most challenging form of protection and why does it get such a rap?

  • Comparing celebrity protection to the corporate environment, what are the biggest differences that transitioning agents need to know?

  • Is there a problem with agent vetting in the sector and what are reputable agencies doing to combat this?

  • Social media has created the ‘Insta-guard’ phenomena. Why is this so prevalent in Celebrity Protection and is it harmful to the industry?

In a single line, Anton paints a picture of working this field that many listeners will relate to…

Not knowing what tomorrow brings is what I've been doing my whole career.

Anton Kalaydjian


Celebs Conned into Becoming Putin Propaganda Puppets

Some Russian tech wizards have been getting up to shady shenanigans with Cameo – a platform where you can buy personalized celeb videos. For a few hundred bucks, you could have Elijah Wood or Mike Tyson give you a shout-out, but instead, these celebs were subject to a special director’s cut to make it look like they're criticizing Ukraine's President Zelensky.

Microsoft's digital detectives uncovered this scheme, revealing that tweaked celeb videos were doing the rounds on Russian social media and news.

The celebs were unwittingly chatting to "Vladimir" about substance abuse, but with a snip here and a cut there, it suddenly seemed like they were taking a jab at Zelensky.

The celebs and their reps are not amused that they’ve become political commentators under fire. Cameo, the platform caught in this digital crossfire, doesn’t seem to have a plan for dealing with this but said it goes against their play-nice policy.

Bottom line: This is just another chapter in Russia's creative, yet troubling, book of internet tricks. But for the celebrities caught in the crosshairs, it highlights a critical point: in the age of AI, anyone's image, especially public figures, can be co-opted and manipulated for purposes far beyond their control or intention.

This represents a significant vulnerability for clients whose livelihoods often depend on their public image. Their appearances, statements, and even casual comments can be twisted and repurposed in AI-driven propaganda campaigns, sometimes with far-reaching consequences.

As the world gears up for more elections, remain watchful and protective of your client’s reputation. Keep up-to-date with the latest trends and stay a step ahead of the ever-evolving tactics of misinformation and digital manipulation.

Previous Poll Results

What is the biggest challenge in implementing the unified protector approach?

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ Coordinating different security sectors effectively. (22%)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Training and developing professionals to fulfil this role. (45%)

🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Ensuring consistent and effective communication. (18%)

🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Other (Let us know). (15%)

Your thoughts:

LD: “Somehow, or other, the unified protector must make money. […] I have seen it all over the New York City security industry for more than 20 years. I’m not really sure if a “unified protector“ could possibly exist, and always make money.”

TR: “Force Multiplier Principle- individuals with experience and knowledge developing those around them to be better through continuous learning.”

RS: “An interesting thought, unifying security as a function, but isn't that just a swing back to a few years ago, when companies strived to have security professionals.”


Thank you for sticking with us to the end; we appreciate your support.

Stay safe, and keep looking out for one another.

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