MSG pulls controversial Knicks ads
By Ben Golliver
What better way to sell the undefeated Knicks than by insulting women and mocking significant injuries sustained by Broadway performers? Wait, don’t answer that.
ESPN.com reported Wednesday that MSG Network, the television network for the Knicks, has decided to remove controversial advertising billboards that encouraged fans to attend Knicks games rather than suffer through a night at the bar hitting on unattractive women or a Broadway show gone wrong.
The network confirmed that that ad, as well as what is believed to be at least three other similar type ads, would be completely removed from all its locations.
“It’s Friday night,” the ad said. “You can either go out and attempt to pick up sixes and sevens or stay home and watch (Knicks guard Jason) Kidd dish out dimes.”‘
“It’s Friday night,” the ad said. “You can either see a Broadway harness malfunctioning or you can watch real men fly.”
The New York Post first brought the latter ad to light earlier this week, noting that Broadway blogs were upset.
That’s an obvious dig at “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” the musical with high-flying stunts that made the show a punch-line when five different actors were injured.
After the Stoudemire ads rolled out, Broadway blogs were up-in-arms. “What does it mean to be a ‘real man?’ ” asked one theater post. “[MSG implies] it means being an athlete on the court — but definitely not being an actor on Broadway … Why is Madison Square Garden putting itself in competition with Broadway?”
Commenters slammed the ads as “offensive,” “embarrassing,” “insulting to one of NYC’s oldest institutions.”
The injuries to one Spiderman performer were reportedly very serious: an actor suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding during a 30-foot fall.
The macho and misogynistic slant on both taglines just screams, “bad idea.” How these went from brainstorm session concepts to actual posters without setting off an alarm somewhere up the chain of command is anybody’s guess. Now that MSG has scrubbed the ads, there’s not much left to see or say here.
The Knicks, by the way, are one of three remaining undefeated teams and they sit atop the Atlantic Division at 3-0. Madison Square Garden sellouts and monster MSG ratings are a given these days, with or without inane taglines.