UPDATE: No good deed…
I agreed to interview a cast member of reality show “The A List” (and I'd call them all D-list because the show has a niche appeal and most readers probably don't know who most of them are) for two reasons. First -- even though most readers have never heard of the show or its stars, I wanted to let the show’s small Pittsburgh fanbase know about his appearance, and second -- the local publicist has always been pleasant.
But after I agreed to a phone interview, the publicist indicated that the only way to call Austin was to dial an international long distance number, which I can’t do from my home office. I asked the publicist to have Austin call me, but the publicist informed me that he couldn’t make an international call either. So the publicist suggested, and I agreed to, an e-mail interview.
When Austin failed to respond to e-mail queries, I could have just dropped the whole thing. But I thought it would be better to post a short blurb so Pittsburghers would know about the appearance. Apparently, Austin did not like this short post (above) and left a message on my voice mail. To give him a chance to have his say, I’ve transcribed it below, cutting only one section about an apparent family emergency that seemed a bit too personal:
“Rob, hi, this is Austin Armacost from ‘The A List New York,’ apparently the D list star of that show. First off, I would like to say that this article is very disrespectful and degratory (sic) to me because my personality and the kind of person that I am because it is completely untrue.
“When I was speaking to Mark Spectrum who is the agent working on this Pittsburgh deal, he asked me if I could possibly answer these questions. I said, ‘I’m not sure. I’m rather busy dealing with a family issue.’
“I said, ‘The only time I would be able to do it was before I fly out of New York to go home to Indiana because I have a lot on my plate in Indiana, and that was at Friday at 2 PM. …
“I think that you jumped the gun writing this article by not getting the whole details. And I think it’s a very childish and cowardly thing to do not to just give me a ring and ask me why the questions weren’t answered and go through a third party.
“You know what, if that’s the kind of person you are, I think that’s pretty sad and it’s pretty pathetic that you needed to write negative things about someone else, that someone being me, because you don’t have a full sack.
“And I would have appreciated a phone call. And if you are a man, I would also appreciate you a) taking down the blog, or b) at least giving a full apology because you don’t know the full details and this is very upsetting to me.
“And I’m coming to Pittsburgh regardless of the situation now, because I’ve been asked to and because I made a commitment. I never made any commitment to answer the questions you sent me and I did give you the opportunity to talk to me last Friday at two P.M. And I made that very clear to Mark that that would be the only time I would be able to speak with you.
“So those are my feelings and my emotions right now. I am very upset with the things you are writing about me. It’s um, they are not just true. I actually have the highest viewing demographic of any character on ‘The A-List New York.’ But you know you are a journalist and I am sure you did your homework on that. But obviously you didn’t because this article is totally the opposite of the truth. And I just want to let you know it’s very disrespectful towards me. And I think you need to grow up a little bit before you just start writing down bull-[expletive] in your blog. Thanks.”