Biden campaign pulls music venue ad after Blind Pig owner reportedly threatened
An ad supporting Joe Biden for president that aired during Sunday's Steelers/Browns game made headlines for being the first time Beastie Boys licensed a song, in this case a snippet of "Sabotage," to be used in a commercial (outside of trailers). The clip, which also featured Pixies' "Where is My Mind," focused on the plight of music venues amid coronavirus lockdown, through the story of Joe Malcoun, co-owner of Ann Arbor, MI venue The Blind Pig. The ad has now been pulled, however; the Biden campaign told Variety that Malcoun was threatened and harassed after it aired, and they removed it from YouTube to stop the escalation.
"The price for having a voice in our political process cannot be endless harassment," Biden spokesperson Bill Russo told Variety in a statement. "And yet, that is what Joe Malcoun and his family currently face as he was doxxed, harassed and threatened after the Trump campaign has sought to smear a community leader who dared to speak out against Trump’s failed response to the COVID crisis. It is shameful."
Trump's campaign, and his supporters, meanwhile, maintain that Malcoun is misinterpreted in the ad as struggling, and that by supporting lockdown measures and voluntarily keeping his club closed to help stop the spread of the virus, that he's to blame for any financial issues incurred.
"Saw that you wrote a piece on Biden’s ‘Blind Pig’ ad that has since been taken down because of rightful backlash from everyday Americans offended that the Biden team created this ad," Trump deputy campaign spokesperson Ken Farnaso wrote in an email to Variety. "In their desperation to pin something else on the President, they fabricated a story in a last-ditch effort to lie to voters because nothing else has worked — and they got caught. Looking forward to your updated stories or standalone articles like this one talking about Team Biden taking it down." The email also included a link to a post about the takedown from the Tucker Carlson-founded conservative site Daily Caller.
Malcoun is a self-described "angel investor" who told All About Ann Arbor that he inherited money from his wife's grandfather. As Detroit Metro Times reports, he was part of a group of investors who bought the venue in 2017, saving it from potential destruction. The group planned to invest over $1 million in the venue, Malcoun told Crain's Detroit Business shortly after the acquisition.
As Pitchfork points out, the ad is still online in a tweet from Rex Chapman, and you can watch it below.