New Biden campaign ad spotlights Ann Arbor’s The Blind Pig

‘This is Trump’s economy,' said co-owner in video

Microphone (Pixlr)

ANN ARBORThis story has been updated.

A new ad by Democrat Joe Biden’s campaign aired Sunday on CBS during NFL games featuring an iconic local music venue. The ad has since been taken down.

Titled “The Blind Pig," the video features the venue’s co-owner Joe Malcoun, who criticizes President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent impact on small businesses nationwide.

“For 50 years the Blind Pig has been open and crowded, but right now it’s an empty room,” Malcoun said in the ad. “This is the reality of Trump’s COVID response.”

“We don’t know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue,” he continued.

Malcoun, an angel investor and co-founder of the Cahoots co-working space in downtown Ann Arbor, purchased The Blind Pig in 2017 with a group of local entrepreneurs in an effort to save the iconic venue that has brought some of the biggest names in music through the Midwestern college town.

“Everybody, including me, has a story of that band they saw at The Blind Pig,” Malcoun told A4 in a 2018 interview. “If we want this community to be an attractive place, we’ve got to have these outlets, these elements. And live music is so important.”

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According to the Biden campaign, the Beastie Boys broke their yearslong anti-ad streak by allowing the campaign to use their song “Sabotage” in the video.

The ad has been widely circulated on social media and as of Monday afternoon received more than 380,000 views.

Ann Arbor’s Mayor Christopher Taylor shared the ad on his Facebook page, saying “Joe Malcoun and The Blind Pig A2 tell it how it is.”

However, criticism of the ad was quick to follow. Critics said that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was responsible for the shutdowns in Michigan, not the president. There was also backlash over the campaign’s portrayal of Malcoun as a struggling bar owner.

According to the Biden campaign, the ad was taken down due to threats against Malcoun and his family.

In an email to the New York Times, Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo wrote, “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 Covid crisis. It is shameful.”

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