Just days after the Joe Biden presidential campaign debuted an ad featuring music from the Beastie Boys the clip has been taken down after the subject of the spot was reportedly doxxed and harassed by supporters of President Trump. The ad that debuted during Sunday’s (Oct. 18) Cleveland Browns/Pittsburgh Steelers NFL game drew attention because the New York hip-hop icons have been loathe to allow their music to be used an any advertisements in the past.
With “Sabotage” as its theme, the ad focused on Joe Malcoun, the owner of the half-century-old Ann Arbor, Michigan, bar the Blind Pig, who says that he’s been struggling to run the bar — which has hosted everyone from Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon to Nirvana over the years — in the midst of the pandemic. “This the reality of Trump’s COVID response,” Malcoun says in the ad. “We don’t know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue… This is Donald Trump’s economy: There is no plan and you don’t know how to go forward. It makes me so angry. My only hope for my family and for this business and my community is that Joe Biden wins this election.”
According to The New York Times, the ad was pulled from all of Biden’s channels on Wednesday after the campaign said he was attacked and threatened by Trump supporters. “The price for having a voice in our political process cannot be endless harassment,” said campaign spokesperson Bill Russo. “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.”
In the spot, Malcoun shines a light on the struggles of a bar owner during the COVID-19 shutdown, when live entertainment has been all but wiped out for more than eight months. The harassment reportedly came after it emerged that Malcoun is an “angel investor” who received a sizable inheritance from his wife’s family, a fact the Biden campaign said it was aware of when it made the ad. Malcoun reportedly used some of that inherited money to help fund start-ups and become an entrepreneur.
A number of Trump supporters also noted that the president shouldn’t be blamed for the Blind Pig’s struggles because Trump has called for faster, more widespread openings while Michigan’s Democratic Gov., Gretchen Whitmer, has taken a slower approach that sought to keep bars and restaurants closed in order to slow the spread of the virus. Conservative sites like the Daily Caller fanned the flames by digging up stories about Malcoun’s inheritance and suggesting that he was monied enough to keep the club — which he recently purchased — afloat during the lockdown.
Following the removal of the ad, the Trump campaign said in a statement to Variety that the takedown came because of a “rightful backlash from everyday Americans offended that the Biden team created this ad. 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.”
In the meantime, as the clock is running out on the last best opportunity to pass a much-needed economic relief package, hundreds of venues across the country are on the precipice of permanently turning off the lights. That dire prospect has led to the push by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) for a $10 billion “Save Our Stages” bill, which is currently stalled in Congress after Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell urged the White House not to seek an agreement with Democrats for the desperately needed relief for American businesses before the Nov. 3 election for fear that it might derail their efforts to fast-track Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the high court.
Last weekend saw dozens of major acts performing as part of the Save Our Stages Festival on YouTube, with acts including Black Pumas, Brittany Howard, Reba McEntire, Dave Matthews, FINNEAS, G-Eazy, Jason Mraz, Kelsea Ballerini, Portugal. The Man, The Roots, Marshmello & Demi Lovato and the Foo Fighters performing at independent venues across the nation in order to shine a light on the struggles of smaller music venues.