Yes, seemingly bad PR can cause unexpected good things, and bad PR can sometimes be turned into a good thing when handled skillfully (even then, not always). The idea that all PR is good PR is just naive.
If Allan Grant hadn't dug himself deeper into his hole, but instead come back with modesty, apologies and flattery to DHH at the very least (perhaps something outside the box as well, "Hey @DHH, to show we're sorry we'll donate $10k to a charity of your choice"?) then the bad PR would have got their name out there and their response might have prevented people from thinking badly of them, and even made people like them. But even then, there's never a guarantee that any response can turn bad PR to good.