A campaign ad for Vice President Joe Biden that featured music from the Beastie Boys and The Blind Pig music venue was taken down after the venue’s owner began receiving threats. The ad debuted Oct. 18 during an NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers.
The ad centered around The Blind Pig, a historic music venue located in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the venue’s owner Joe Malcoun. Notably, the ad featured “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, who have never before allowed one of their songs to be used for a commercial.
The ad also features clips of concerts that have taken place at Blind Pig over the years with artists including John Lennon, Jimi Hendix and Pearl Jam. The ad then shows footage of what the venue looks today, empty due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In the ad, Malcoun says “For 50 years, The Blind Pig has been open and crowded, but right now, it’s an empty room. This is the reality of Trump’s COVID response. We don’t know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue.”
It echoes what the National Independent Venues Association has been saying, that there could be a mass collapse of the live music industry if venues don’t receive aid from the government.
The backlash apparently stems from the fact that Malcoun has inherited a lot of money from his wife’s grandfather, according to Pitchfork.
Bill Russo, a spokesperson for the Biden campaign, told The New York Times the video was removed because Malcoun and his family were “doxxed, harassed, and threatened after the Trump campaign has sought to smear [Malcoun].”
Ken Farnaso, Trump’s deputy national press secretary, said of the backlash: “every day [sic] Americans [are] 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 an email to the Metro Times.
The ad was published on YouTube but has been taken down. It is still available to view in a tweet from former NBA player Rex Chapman.
This new Biden ad running during football today about saving music venues is absolutely perfect.
We MUST save our stages, restaurants, and bars… pic.twitter.com/wHb8bVog5m
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) October 18, 2020