Everything depends on the intention.Honestly, I think a publicity stunt says, ME! ME! ME! and defeats the purpose of whatever cause you are for. Then there is the issue of the positive AND negative repercussions of said course of action.
The Civil Rights Movement was one big publicity stunt. The Rosa Parks incident was a test case by the NAACP meant to arose Montgomery's black population into action, even though there had been other incidents (including one by Ms. Parks in 1943) of blacks resisting segregation in public places. The Birmingham campaign, in which dogs and firehoses were used against unarmed and underaged protesters was also planned in the sense that organizers knew that Bull Conner was over-react in such a way that would guarantee sympathetic press. These tactics were not universally praised by other black leaders; Malcolm X, for example, criticized Martin Luther King for intentionally putting children in harms way in Birmingham. However, these stunts if you will were very sucessful and have become iconic of the struggle for democracy and human rights. So my answer is yes, publicity stunts are worth it if you know how to work the media right.
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