"I want to apologize to all the black tech bloggers. It could have been any ethnic group. It could have been gay guys, could have been Jews, could have been micks, skinnies, chinks, any of them...It was just your guys' bad luck that it went down that way...I'm a fucking idiot comedian and I did this." When PodTech promised to sign on more "professional producers," did it mean a white guy putting on a blackface minstrel show? Because that's what PodTech talent Loren Feldman has been up to, as part of a freakish little "opera" this videoblogger has engineered over the past week. Here's the story as told in videos, from "TechNigga" to Loren screaming, "No balls on any of you, you're just fucking sheep."
It's particularly painful to watch someone become a vicious cornered little nobody — the kind of cracked-out mess of a man that you see pushing a shopping cart and squalling at strangers — when the victim wasn't that sane to begin with. So it's not fun to write this history of Loren Feldman, who's turned himself from a mildly entertaining jester into the horrible little child you knew in grade school who would grow up beating on younger children to make himself feel powerful.
Feldman made his name in the tech blogging circle by acting out and getting sillier than anyone else dared. I loved one of his early shows, "Jason's Place," in which he parodied self-important entrepreneur Jason Calacanis by wearing a diaper and riding a hobbyhorse:
Once Feldman had made nice with those he previously mocked, what was left? Feldman turned to the enemies of PodTech, the company he'd mocked in the video above before they became his publisher. I'll admit it got a bit personal when he responded to my articles about the company (I've been a vocal critic of the site) by recording a puppet show with a two-year-old's ass:
But I was at least glad someone was trying to be funny. Unfortunately, Feldman has recently abandoned even this pretense.
This past Friday, Feldman posted a video titled "Where are the Black Tech Bloggers?" In this video, after explaining his question ("I mean black guys love technology. Car stereos, cell phones..."), the white male dressed as a dated caricature of a do-rag-wearing, pot-smoking black gangster hosting a site called "TechNigga."
This screw-up was particularly ironic for Feldman. A couple of months ago, he had physically threatened Guy Kawasaki, calling the entrepreneur a "stupid motherfucker" for saying he learned about selling from his Jewish friends in the jewelry industry:
Now Feldman had resorted to offending entire races. The reaction to "TechNigga" was swift and negative. Unfortunately for Feldman, black tech bloggers do exist, such as Lynne Johnson. The Fastcompany.com editor called the video "bad black face."
Feldman has recently been doing work for the Huffington Post; owner Arianna Huffington told Wired writer Adario Strange about "TechNigga," "I found it both offensive and unfunny."
The next day, Feldman posted a seemingly sincere apology to all he had recently offended in this and other videos, including tech bloggers of all races and Valleywag publisher Nick Denton and myself. He announced he would soon enter one-day sensitivity training at a rehab clinic.
But this now looks like a ruse; during his supposed treatment period, Feldman posted videos such as the following, which includes a soundtrack with the refrain, "My niggas."
Note that the more offensive videos have appeared using Blip.tv, an independent video distributor that any publisher can use without editorial permission, while the more appropriate-seeming clips use the PodTech player and appear on PodTech.net.
Feldman then apologized once more:
And released a rather funny parody of the boring gnaw-your-own-leg-off tech shows at sites like PodTech:
Before ruining everything with a final nasty strike at all who dared criticize his creative genius:
It is here that he questioned the testicular fortitude of everyone in the videoblogging community who had criticized him, as well as copping out with a "Sorry black guys, it could've been the chinks."
The obvious question is why PodTech is still in business with this insensitive, racist, bad-for-business videoblogger, and has not even criticized Feldman. The usually vocal PodTech owner John Furrier has remained silent, despite many calls for his response in a forum he frequently visits. As far as the company's behavior speaks for itself, PodTech and John Furrier apparently support Feldman's racist and hateful messages. This is one Don Imus who won't get fired.