Back in March, a blog post we published regarding a potential media acquisition by Cablevision, MSG Entertainment, and Rainbow Media owner James Dolan — compounded by a vaguely worded, ominous legal threat from Dolan’s corporate office, which was ignored and then published in a naive showing of cliched blogger belligerence — cost The Village Voice an advertising deal worth upwards of $20,000/year in revenue. And if you’re a blogger three weeks into your new job (or the editor who — now, possibly regretfully — hired him), you can only laugh. And we did. And that was that.
Or so we thought. We’ve now learned the following:
That same post has now resulted in all Madison Square Garden Entertainment advertising being pulled from the Village Voice.
Furthermore, LiveNation — one of America’s biggest concert promoters — has now pulled all of its advertising from the The Village Voice at the behest of James Dolan, whose MSG Entertainment employs the services of Live Nation/Ticketmaster in their ticketing and promotions operations.
In toto, a mediocre dick joke about a media acquisition has now cost this company upwards of $1M in yearly advertising revenue.
And if you’re the blogger who wrote it, how do you react?
(A) You try to understand how an action of vindictiveness so beyond any imaginable degree of reason can be exercised in response to something so pithy?
(B) You wait to get fired.
Regarding Option A, we’re still working on it.
As for Option B: That’s the nice thing about working at the Village Voice. It’s not, apparently, how we roll.
The truth of the matter is that Jimmy Dolan perfectly fits the profile of the same kind of person the Village Voice has written about since Runnin’ Scared — the column — first started way back in December, 1958.
For example, Mr. Dolan is the kind of person who:
— Creates a culture of fear and hostility in the workplace, resulting in being named and successfully sued in a sexual harassment suit as a business owner.
— Creates a culture of fear and hostility towards the press as a sports franchise owner.
— Creates a culture of fear and hostility towards the press, as the guy who owns The Rockettes.
— Creates a culture of fear and hostility towards the press as a potential newspaper owner.
— And then later creates a culture of fear and hostility as the owner of said newspaper.
And now, apparently, he’s trying to create a culture of fear and hostility among his fellow Village Voice advertisers because he was on the wrong end of a blog post.
Would it be worth hitting up any of these entities for quotes? Probably not. They’re likely to coyly note that it doesn’t pay for them to advertise with us, regardless of the fact that they’ve done so long before any of this happened, and make some suggestion about the nature of our business as a worthy advertising investment. I know that’s what they’d do, because if I were on their end, it’s what I’d do. And then I’d leak a not-for-attribution quote to the reporter about what actually happened here, which, if you work for Cablevision, MSG Entertainment, Rainbow Media, Newsday, Live Nation, or any other entity even remotely involved in Dolan’s dealings, you’re more than welcome to do.
But rather than Dolan showing everyone else how much he hates the media, I’m pretty sure there’s a really good reason out there someone — maybe Runnin’ Scared, even — could actually give him, besides the fact that we know our way around a good laugh. And that said: If you know anything about Mr. Dolan that might serve the public interest — whether it’s who he ate lunch with, what documents he’s shredding today, or if his hands are on the teat (or breasts) of entities they likely shouldn’t be — you know exactly where to go.
James Dolan’s a fun guy. Anyone of Dolan’s repute who names his band JD & the Straight Shot — such a lie, such a bold-faced hyper-euphemism, the same way Fox News’ “Fair & Balanced” smirks at you every time you read it — has to be. Maybe this is his idea of fun. After all, Dolan’s Cablevision did just report a 5 percent increase in earnings today for the first quarter, to the tune of $1.75B.
But is it ironic that Dolan, someone who owns media outlets, holds so much contempt for what they do? Maybe less ironic at this point than it is incidental. After all, it was a bad joke, but it wasn’t that bad.