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Musto and Feingold Respond to Recent Village Voice Firings

by Bobby McGuire
Contributor
Sunday May 19, 2013
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On Friday, May 17, a shot was heard around the world of journalism when the financially troubled Village Voice dismissed three of its long time columnists. Probably most shocking to fans of the alternative weekly was the firing of gossip and nightlife columnist Michael Musto, who has long been considered the face of the paper. The upheaval which began a week ago with the public resignation of editors Will Bourne and Jessica Lustig also included the firing of drama critic Michael Feingold and restaurant critic Robert Sietsema. Today, Feingold and Musto took to social media to address their recent firings and thank fans for their outcries of outrage and support.

On Musto’s Facebook page he wrote

""Hello, everyone. Yesterday, I was laid off from the Village Voice after 28 years of writing there, as you’ve probably read. The response has been astounding. I think I got more Facebook posts and tweets than Angelina’s breasts, lol! People came out in droves to support me and said they’ve appreciated my work through the years. The performers, artists, and party people I’ve long trumpeted rallied to give me love and show their loyalty. The readers who’ve followed me came out to say how tragic they felt this turn of events was. And I want to tell you how incredibly touched I am by the outpouring. I don’t do earnestness very well--and this may well be the last time I even try--but all of your comments have really buoyed me and made me heartened to know that I’m appreciated, and I just want to say THANK YOU for the love. I’ve tried to thank each person personally--feeling like Joan Crawford as I’ve done so--but if I missed someone, this is my way of saying I am EXTREMELY grateful the support. To know that none of this happens in a vacuum is a great thing because we can use these social tools to lift each other up and help each other to more glory. Soon I will update you on my future activities (which will be plentiful, I’m sure). In the meantime, MWAH!!!!!!"

Feingold also turned to his fans on his page by writing

"Dear astonishingly supportive friends and colleagues: I thought when it started that this would be the darkest day of my life, but thanks to you it has turned out to be the happiest and most exhilarating. I am literally exhausted from trying to keep up with all the messages of sympathy, love and support. The VV has terminated my contract as a staff writer as of Tuesday, but it has treated me gently. I am now in the process of crunching numbers on what they have said is a very generous severance offer, and I will have legal advice and Union support while working it out with them. In addition, they have proposed that, once the severance matter is settled, I should resume work for them as a freelancer and continue to run the Obies. I am pondering whether this would be feasible, and will discuss its terms with them once other matters are settled. In the meantime I feel free, I feel loved, and I feel that countless possibilities are now open to me. The world has ended but I’m still here and starting over again. And I owe this feeling in large part to the way all of you have reacted to my situation. I have never felt so embraced in my life, and I bless you all for it.

To those who would wish me to stay where I am: I do not believe there is any possibility of reversing the VV’s decision, which is economic and not personal, but those who desire to register a protest can write to VMG’s Editorial Director, christine.brennan@voicemediagroup.com - She has shown great respect for me in her handling of this matter, and I do not wish to see her harassed or abused, but I see no harm in her knowing the full extent of readers’ disagreement with VMG’s decision."

Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and chief drama critic, Michael Feingold has been writing for the Village Voice since 1971.

Michael Musto has been writing for the Village Voice since 1984. Author of Downtown and Manhattan on the Rocks as well as Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back, a complilation of selections from his weekly column "La Dolce Musto" and blog "La Daily Musto."

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