Upsetting: A tipster tells us that the bedridden New York Daily News' longtime photo editor Mike Lipack got word that he was being fired from the NYDN "after stepping on [Editor-In-Chief] Martin Dunn's dick one too many times." Eegh. Updated!
Longtime Daily News photo director Mike Lipack got the axe. Marty Dunn's apparently replacing him with former Post-er Gretchen Viehmann who'll take over around mid-January after finishing some gig in London. Lipack apparently "stepped on Dunn's dick one too many times."
...turned out to be half-correct. No word on what kind of dick-stepping was going on with the blogger-detesting Martin Dunn and Lipack, who started at the Daily News as a mere staff photographer straight out of high school in 1970.
But Lipack's apparently been sick, and on medical leave in the hospital recently. The part about Mike getting the axe is partly true: he'll be losing his position as the Director of Photography at the News. He's not being terminated, however: he was offered a back-office job working high on the business side of the Photo Desk in marketing. To wit, this is basically like being moved from the chef de cuisine to the guy who does inventory on the walk-in's cake batter supply.
Even worse: Lipack received the news while still in the hospital, and also, that former New York Post photo editor Gretchen Viehmann would be taking his place. Mike sent out what we're told was a "very touching" email to Daily News photogs. If you've got the email, you know where to put it.
The award-winning Lipack's reportedly [Ed. Debatable. Update below.] very, very well-regarded by Daily News photogs and reporters alike, who're just finding out about the end of Lipack's 39-year rise at the paper and—despite Lipack's absence while on hospital leave—are still finding themselves fairly surprised by the news.
Update: Still no word on that compassionate email Lipack sent out, but we have heard from a number of people who weren't so fond of "Mikey." One tipster writes in:
There is no-one so universally hated in all of New York journalism as Mike Lipack. Every photographer who's ever worked at the News describes him as a disgusting tyrant, and there are genuine celebrations that he's finally been prevented from dealing directly with human beings who take pictures. Lipack's forced lots of people to quit, even in this economy, because he's "a nasty, unfair bully of a man who disrespects and abuses people as a matter of course."
Another, in the comments:
To all inclined to feel sorry for Mr. Lipack...(and to Mr. Kamer, who wrote "(Lipack is)...very, very well-regarded by Daily News photogs and reporters alike"): Ask any non-staff photojournalist that has had the poor fortune to have their career-path wind through Lipack's turf (there are dozens) about their experience and you will hopefully come to understand that old Mikey has just received only a fraction of the shit karma coming back on him on return. This is a man who - from the much I've heard from friends who work/ed for him - consistently behaves in an abusive, belittling and cruel manner. He deserves no pity at this point.
And one more, from the comments:
If by "very, very well regarded" you mean "universally detested," then yes I agree. I would feel bad about this happening to anyone else but not him. I regard this as long-overdue karmic justice. And before anyone gets all judgmental about me and my callousness, I spit this venom from the last portion of black in my heart for a reason. He was, and will be in whatever menial position he's transferred to, a spineless, morally vacant, petty tyrant.
Well, one thing's for sure: based on what we've heard on both sides, Mike Lipack is definitely a polarizing guy. The people who care for him, were shocked, saddened, and will miss him a great deal. Among others, who're doing the munchkin dance today, he's completely reviled, the venom he's brought out being fairly awe-inspiring. Either karma's coming around or going somewhere, though from the sound of it, most likely stuck somewhere in the muddy, uncomfortable middle, where it's normally at, anyway.