Yesterday I responded to a Deadspin article in which 97.5 The Fanatic on-air personality Mike Missanelli repeatedly used homophobic slurs when responding to one of his critics in a series of e-mails.
While I admitted that Missanelli has been a supporter of my work and I listen to his show a few times a week, I found his response extremely inappropriate, and called for the use of gay slurs to disappear in sports, sports media, and our culture in general.
The story broke yesterday slightly before 2 P.M. (when Missanelli hosts his show), so he still hosted yesterday, ignoring the rumors. Missanelli didn’t go on air today, as he was suspended indefinitely.
97.5 The Fanatic issued this statement, on Missanelli’s suspension.
“We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.”
Missanelli technically hast not spoken since his suspension became official, but Larry Mendte of PhillyMag.com published an article today, in which he kissed Missanelli’s ass, while both of them ripped Deadspin.
Here is a sample of Mendte’s thoughts on the articles.
The story was leaked to them by an Internet troll who has reportedly been baiting and heckling Mike Missanelli, a radio talk show host on 97.5 the Fanatic, for years. In the Deadspin story the troll is allowed to remain anonymous. Yet before running the story, Deadspin never reached out to Missanelli to get his side of the story. I know because I did reach out to him. It was easy and he responded immediately. It is a basic tenet of journalism to attempt to get both sides of the story.
It’s funny how ignorant Mendte is. First of all, media has changed, and when you a story like this, you publish it and then you get the reaction. It wasn’t a fabricated story, and trying to turn it on Deadspin, when Missanelli was the one who was in the wrong, is idiotic.
Secondly, not all the members of the media are great friends with Missanelli, who was willing to give quotes to Mendte. I don’t have his phone number, and I reached out to him on Twitter, through e-mail, and I called the station, and got no comment out of any of them.
So what was I supposed to do, not react? Crossing Broad’s Kyle Scott also called the station and got no response. I’d venture a guess, that Deadspin did that as well. Either way, their was a story to react to, and if Missanelli wanted to be protected, he should have responded anyone who reached out to him.
Instead, Missanelli only responded to the people that he chose, leaving outlets like Deadspin, Crossing Broad, and this site, to respond without his side. So is that our problem? We reached out to him, and he ignored us, but the story still goes up, because it is news in the Philadelphia sports world.
In his response to Mendte, Missanelli echoed Mendte’s statements on the lack of journalistic integrity of Deadspin.
“Deadspin doesn’t even know the IDENTITY of the guy and they ran it! Journalistically corrupt.”
What do you mean they don’t know his identity? If he had an e-mail address, and clear e-mails from Missanelli’s account, then he has an online identity. He originally asked for his name to not be in the Deadspin story, likely to avoid backlash, but then once there was backlash that he wasn’t “man enough” to put his name in the article, he gave his name out to Crossing Broad. As we later learned, “J.J.” was the identity of the e-mailer.
Missanelli also claimed that he was being “clinical” to “J.J.”, rather than homophobic.
“I was actually trying to be clinical with him and suggest that there was something fueling his obsession with me.”
That is a lame excuse. Ignore the e-mails, you aren’t a therapist, Mike.
According to the article, Missanelli believes that “J.J.” and Deadspin somehow twisted the public’s perception, by only including e-mails that would be damning to Missanelli’s reputation.
As for the emails that Deadspin printed, Missanelli claims they were carefully selected to make the story more damaging. “Ironically, he didn’t send to Deadspin the emails where he said to me that he WAS gay. I replied, ‘That’s great. I hope it’s liberating for you to finally admit that.’”
I’m sorry, but calling someone a “latent homosexual” numerous times, doesn’t sound like someone who is happy that someone came out of the closet. It sounds like a bigot putting down someone who has the courage to admit that they aren’t straight, which should be commended, rather than frowned upon.
So for me, I’ve lost a good amount of respect in Missanelli. As a public figure, it doesn’t matter whether someone is “threatening your family”, or “stalking you”, because you can’t react like this. You can go to the police and do your best to cut him off, but you can’t let your emotions boil over like this. He should graciously take his suspension, and be thankful that he is good enough at his profession to still have a job.
As for Mendte, he better make sure that he never gets involved with a situation like this, because he isn’t good enough at his job to survive the storm. Articles like this demonstrate that–especially this final paragraph.
So who deserves your condemnation more? The Internet gossip site that ignores the tenets of journalism to launch a personal attack in hopes of attention, an anonymous troll who selectively leaks emails after threatening a man and his family for years, or the man whose only real sin seems to be writing an ill-advised response and clicking the “send” button.
Yeah guys, let’s just ignore a website that has changed the culture of realism and pulling no punches in sports reporting for the better, because ESPN and FOX, among others, are definitely giving us this type of news. If you believe that Deadspin is “an internet gossip site”, then you don’t have proper respect for the fact that the media has transitioned to a world where the truth will get out—whether the huge media outlets report it or not.
Update: Missanelli released this statement through a representative.
I apologize to anyone I have offended with such a poor choice of words. I am facing the consequences of those words. The person in question is a serial e-mailer who has been harassing me and threatening violence on me and my family for years, using countless e-mail addresses and computer servers to send his poisonous messages. Inquiries to discover his identity and have the law enforcement authorities deal with him have not thus far been successful. My response to him was a desperate attempt to get him to cease and desist, or at least discover the motivation for his hatred and obsession towards me. Anyone who knows me or has ever listened to my show knows that I would NEVER cast aspersions on anyone’s culture or lifestyle.
Crossing Broad also reminds us that Mendte once had an affair with a co-anchor, and after it happened, he hacked her e-mail and sent damaging messages to others on her e-mail. When the e-mail hacking accusations became public, Mendte chose to officially leak the news of the affair to the media, making him questioning Deadspin’s integrity laughable.