S.F. Newspaper Company President Todd Vogt spoke with CBS5's Joe Vazquez today, in an attempt to either clarify or obfuscate (we're still not quite sure ourselves) his company's reasons for bringing Michelle Shocked back to San Francisco for a free concert on Pride weekend, just months after she went on a confusing anti-gay rant onstage at Yoshi's.
According to Vogt, Shocked — or her representatives — initially attempted to purchase ad space in SF Weekly's annual Pride Guide. "For all the money in the world," Vogt told CBS5, "we weren't going to take some hate mongering homophobic ad."
When Shocked claimed she truly wanted to apologize for what happened at Yoshi's in March and clarify the situation, Vogt went a different route and the concert idea was born. "So we talked," Vogt explains, "and we decided the only way we’d do this is if you’d come to San Francisco, put on a free show, be honest and up front about it. She spoke to her people and decided to do it.”
A newspaper man with a strict bottom line turning down ad dollars and committing to spend money is already starting to raise a few eyebrows: Chloe Harris of 7x7 says calling the whole thing, "Disingenuous...Notorious" (as we did) is putting it mildly. Or, as San Francisco Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jon Steinberg phrased it: "#NotWorthItTodd."
If the story were truly about Shocked's mea culpa, as Vogt says, then an Examiner Op-Ed and an interview in the Weekly would have been a much more cost effective way to give the rambling stage performer a platform to speak. (Not to mention, Shocked herself seems to have already moved on to the Bradley Manning issue, anyway.)
Likewise, Vogt says the timing at the tail end of Pride Weekend is purely coincidental although he and his staff decided it was a perfect fit for the event. Shocked has implied on Twitter that she won't be paid for the gig, but there's always the matter of venue costs and event permits, not to mention the cost of flying SF Weekly's music editor to L.A. to do the interview. A venue for the concert still needs to be negotiated and Vogt says it is unclear whether the plucky provocatrice will even show up.
Update, June 19th: Vogt jumped on Twitter earlier today to make an apology and accept all the outrage that has been directed at him in the wake of the concert announcement:
I deserve all the anger & outrage be directed solely at me. I am sorry. Intended this to be healing but only caused more grief. My apologies— Todd Vogt (@sfExaminerPrez) June 19, 2013
We're not quite sure what this means for the free Shocked concert, as we're still trying to parse the singer's breakneck Twitter feed,
but we'll be sure to update you when we know more.
Update, June 19th, 6 p.m.: Apparently Vogt was apologizing for this whole debacle. The Michelle Shocked show has been cancelled.
Previously: Michelle Shocked To Promote Herself With Free Concert During Pride, S.F. Examiner Op-Ed
All Michelle Shocked coverage on SFist