MSG Network Pulls “Real Men” Ads In Wake Of Controversy

MSG Network, which broadcasts games from Madison Square Garden, is pulling an ad some are calling homophobic, sexist and mean-spirited.

On Tuesday, the company announced it was canceling its current ad campaign, which included a poster of Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire and the line “It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunctioning or you can watch real men fly.”

The tagline is a reference to Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark, the Broadway show plagued by mechanical malfunctions and injuries. In December 2010, actor Christopher Tierney fell from the air into the orchestra pit and sustained four broken ribs and three fractured vertebrae. But according to the ad, he’s not a “real man” because he’s in the theatuh. Considering Tierney was back in the show four months later, we’d call him pretty darn manly.

Another advertisement made fun of supposedly unattractive women with the line, “It’s Friday night. 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.”‘

According to, the network confirmed at least four ads would be completely removed from all locations. The network apologized earlier in the week for the campaign, saying it used “bad judgment” in commissioning it.


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  • AshNYC

    Good…I saw this ad on the way to and from work. All I could think was “what dumbass approved this?”

  • Cosmic Destroyer

    Technically, that’s more effemiphobia than homophobia. Also, “Real” may have meant “not fictional” rather than “acceptably manly.” That being said, sports has no place condescending to theater.

  • IzzyLuna

    I hope the person(s) who approved this campaign were fired.

  • hyhybt

    Interesting. I read the ad in the picture before the article, and it seemed to me not to be saying that “real men” was contrasting to fictional characters, not to the actors who play them on (or over) stage.

  • MikeE

    There’s no mistaking “real men” to mean “non-fictional”. In the ad it references “harnesses”. If the reference were to fictional men they would not have made it about an item that is not meant to be forefront of the Broadway show. Spiderman doesn’t wear a harness. The actor in the Broadway show does.

    If they had meant fictional men, they’d have referenced one of Spiderman’s fictional abilities. Not the technical subterfuge used to give the appearance that he is swinging through the air (since technically, Spiderman doesn’t “fly”).

    And it’s pretty crass to reference a dangerous accident in the ad.

    The ad campaign was clearly meant to contrast “Broadway” (not for real men) and “Sports” (for real men).

    Incredibly tasteless.

    But they’re advertising for a basketball league, not much surprise there.

  • 2eo

    If basketball is so full of real men why do they protect so many rapists and women beaters?

  • jwrappaport

    Things I’d rather do than watch basketball:

    1. Stand in line at the post office
    2. Get a new ID at the DMV
    3. Sit through double potions with Slytherin
    4. Get stuck on the metro for an hour

    I’ll take the “fake” men any day, thank you very much.

  • 2eo

    @jwrappaport: Would you compare the DMV in America to how the Post Office is here in the UK, or worse?

    Also, kudos for HP.

  • hyhybt

    @2eo: Something to keep in mind: the DMV varies widely depending on state and location.

  • startenout

    So glad they think about the impact AFTER the fact. 2 steps forward, 2 steps back even in NYC.

  • the other Greg

    MSG Network? Funny they’re complaining about “real” when the network is named for an artificial additive in Chinese food. … Oh, never mind!

  • damiant

    MSG network is pretty hilarious…

Comments are closed.