I'm sure Ed doesn't hate me in a visceral sense or even knows my name or the name of the site, but that's what it felt like, yesterday afternoon, when Sony called to tell me that a Pearl Jam-related post needed to come down immediately. "What happened?," I asked Sony Guy on the phone. He was vague, but stern. "The post from last night. It must come down." No, I thought. Not again. Not Ed.
Sony Guy continued to press me to take action, a chilly authoritative tone coated his voice, but didn't say exactly what part of the PJ20-inspired music week made the suits at the label so irate.
"The one with the note," Sony Guy said, purposely avoiding specifics, in the hopes that his own self-editing would make it so it never happened. It sounded so Catholic. Then the details hit me.
"Oh...the one with the jizzy condom in the cup?"
Yes. That one. Now the rest of the conversation we had is hazy because when he began to explain who at the label was angry about the post, somewhere between "Management is really upset" and "They want it erased" I could have sworn I heard him say that "Eddie and the band saw it and they're not happy." Maybe it wasn't just like that but whatever was said made my legs give out. My fawning adoration of the band was now being pitted against my devotion to the site. Sony requested the post come down. I amended it yesterday, but also let Sony Guy know that it's not our policy to go in and change these sorts of things, especially when the thing involves the notion that one fan's impression of rockstar Eddie Vedder was a lot more Kid Rock than Neil Young. So here's the email in full, for good measure, from a reader named Erik, whose Fan Note about Ed Vedder was this:
So I worked at the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco for a few years and worked in room service. Met many celebs and saw plenty of crazy stuff. Pearl Jam stayed there pretty much every year around the Bridge School Benefit Concert time(Neil Young as well). So Eddie orders sorbet one night and I deliver and he is by himself in the suite. I am a huge fan and my girlfriend loves Eddie as well so I figured I might ask for an autograph(other than on the bill). This is frowned upon of course and I had never done it before but what the hell, he seemed pretty cool. Well he was, and when I asked if he could sign for my girlfriend he crooned "anything for love" and even drew a little wave on the card. Righteous! I'm getting laid! Thanks Eddie Vedder! Well the story continues as he later calls to have his sorbet and tray picked up and I rush up to thank him again. Well the tray is outside the door with another souvenir. The guy left a used condom hanging on the sorbet cup! WTF! So Eddie had sex delivered in the time I left and then decided to leave the remains on the tray not in the garbage can. A sicker fuck or bigger fan(looking at you AJ) probably would have kept it as the ultimate souvenir but I was happy with my autograph. Anyway he was cool despite that whole jizz thing.
I don't know why this was so objectionable to Team Pearl Jam. Erik here didn't seem rattled by the condom ordeal and later asked why the original post was edited. It was because Sony asked it to be, because this isn't the type of coverage they anticipated when they partnered with Deadspin. A partnership, I might add, that was solely forged by me, not the site nor Gawker Media, to celebrate my favorite band. Sony was happy with the rest of the Pearl Jam stories we'd run, but not the jizzy condom.
Anyway, that's what went down, that's why it was changed. The fan in me changed it, but the editor in me knew full well that retelling it this way was much better and a lesson in how not to boldly compromise. And now some of the editors have insisted I flagellate myself more. Fine. This is what I get for trying to use the site as a means of meeting and becoming best friends with Eddie Vedder or something. I'm an asshole.
As for Erik, well, he wins a PJ20 soundtrack. Congratulations.