This week, subway riders may have been surprised during their morning commutes to see a Dr. Zizmor–esque ad for another now-familiar face: “Michael Cohen, Attorney-at-Law. Got Problems? Call ‘The Fixer,’ ” the ad copy reads, above a checklist of services rendered — “Hush Payments, Physical Threats, Pay Off Porn Stars, Playboy Bunnies” — and the smarmily grinning face of Donald Trump’s embattled lawyer.
The ad — which, needless to say, was placed on trains without the knowledge or permission of the MTA — went a step further, though, by including a phone number that leads to a similarly deadpan voicemail message (“Press 3 if you are the president of the United States”), as well as a URL for a website advertising his skill set and office hours. (Apparently the fake Cohen is happy to “commit treason if it means helping a client” but doesn’t work weekends.)
The Voice, in what is apparently going to be an ongoing series of interviews with New Yorkers insistent on joining the daily subway-ad-strip dialogue, tracked down the anonymous Cohen impersonator for a brief email interrogation:
What gave you the idea for doing the fake Michael Cohen ad? Have you ever done anything like this before?
The guy calls himself a “fixer” and he acts like one of those lawyers who would have a terrible subway ad, so we are just giving him the treatment he deserves. We’ve done similar stunts before.
How long did it take to pull it all together? Have you received any unexpected responses?
It didn’t take that long to put the site together. I wanted the “Fix You” midi file to autoplay when you open the webpage, so if anyone can help me do that, let me know!
The phone has been ringing nonstop since the ads went up. I think mostly people are just calling to see if it’s a working number, but we’ve had some people leave some pretty funny messages. No calls from Michael Cohen yet.
How many ads did you put up?
We don’t want to incriminate ourselves, but there are plenty up, so keep your eyes peeled!
Do you think we’re seeing a resurgence of this kind of culture jamming?
Yeah. I love it.
What do you hope to accomplish?
Get a write-up in the Village Voice! No, we hope that it brightened people’s day. But our true hope is that Michael Cohen rides the subway, looks up at the ad, and calls the number seeking legal advice.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 20, 2018