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Biden ad criticized after depicting ‘struggling’ bar owner, who is actually a wealthy investor

The wealthy investor co-owns a Michigan bar and supported the coronavirus lockdowns.

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Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 25
Joe Biden in the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 25
(Pool/Getty)
Updated: October 21, 2020 - 7:57pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is being criticized for a TV ad about a struggling business owner who unbeknown to viewers is also a wealthy investor.

Joe Malcoun, the man featured in the ad, portrays the life of a struggling bar owner working hard to make money in "Trump's economy." The ad failed to mention the bar owner is also a wealthy tech investor who has made contributions to Biden's campaign. 

"We don't know how much longer we can survive not having any revenue," he said in the ad. "This is the reality of Trump's COVID response … This is Donald Trump's economy." 

The ad suggested Malcoun's future and his family were at risk but did not mention the bar owner's several other businesses as a wealthy "angel investor" in tech companies. The ad has been taken off of Youtube but remains on select sites

The Michigan bar, called Blind Pigs, is co-owned by Malcoun. It was closed under Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders.

In April, Malcoun tweeted that the governor was "doing the right thing" with her extended stay-at-home orders.

But when allowed to reopen in June, the Blind Pig was promptly re-closed by owners, not by government mandate.

"Now that we tried it and saw it's really hard to communicate what it means to have a really socially distanced and live music show, we decided it's not really worth trying," Malcoun said. "The very last thing we want is to be the epicenter of a new outbreak."