A Joe Biden campaign ad that criticized President Donald Trump’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic by highlighting a struggling bar and music venue in Ann Arbor, Michigan has been pulled from YouTube after the venue’s owner began receiving threats, the Detroit Metro Times reports.
The “Blind Pig” spot — named after the club — aired Sunday, October 18th, during an NFL game and featured owner Joe Malcoun discussing how difficult it’s been for venues, bars and restaurants to make ends meet with limited revenue during the Covid-19 pandemic, and warning that many won’t survive without federal assistance. The ad was also notable for its soundtrack, which featured music from Pixies, the Breeders and the historically ad-averse Beastie Boys.
The ad soon drew a backlash from conservatives on social media, some of whom claimed the venue’s struggles were the fault of Michigan’s Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, not Trump, because of state regulations enacted to prohibit large indoor gatherings that would facilitate the spread of Covid-19. Others called out the ad because Malcoun turned out to also be a fairly wealthy investor and entrepreneur. Malcoun had received a financial windfall from an inheritance left by his wife’s grandfather, a real estate investor; he used some of that money to buy and revitalize the Blind Pig, while he’s also invested in a few other businesses.
In a statement to The New York Times Wednesday, October 21st, the Biden campaign said it was aware of Malcoun’s other ventures and background when the ad was made. Spokesperson Bill Russo said, “The price for having a voice in our political process cannot be endless harassment. 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 coronavirus crisis. It is shameful.”
Trump’s Deputy National Press Secretary, Ken Farnaso, also issued a statement saying of the Biden campaign, “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.”