January 8 [14:00 EDT] — The latest artist to get his feathers ruffled by the folks at VH-1’s “Pop Up Video” is noted video director Mark Pellington, who took offense with commentary that ran during his clip for Jon Bon Jovi’s “Midnight In Chelsea” [600k QuickTime].
The show features familiar music videos augmented by trivia bubbles that pop up throughout the clips (hence the name).
Pellington, whose ground-breaking clip for Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” [1MB QuickTime] won Best Video of the Year honors at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, took umbrage with a series of bubbles noting that his college major was rhetoric, and that Websters dictionary defines rhetoric as “overelaborate; affected or intellectually vacuous language.”
The director fired off a lengthy rebuttal to the folks at “Pop Up Video” which claims the show “went beyond pop commentary into a personal attack on me, with
the ’intellectually vacuous comment,'” and goes on to say, “Good or even clever critical opinion I can handle. It is blatant and mean comments that are hurtful and wrong.” The complete text of Pellington’s letter can be found on the Spin the Bottle website (the production company behind “Pop Up Video”) at www.spinthebottle.com/popup/pops_stop/mail.html.
Pellington charges that the folks at “Pop Up Video” “take something clever and turn it into something mean” and goes on to accuse the show of being “one step above tabloid garbage” before signing off “Disrespectfully, Mark Pellington.”
A spokesperson for the series said that while many people have called in to express their displeasure with the show’s irreverent tone (including the Wallflowers’ Jakob Dylan and Jewel’s grandmother), this is the first time they’ve received a poison pen letter.
The “Pop Up” spokesperson said that
the episode featuring “Midnight In Chelsea” has been pulled from the air.
Other than pulling the offending episode, the crew of “Pop Up Video” have taken Pellington’s comments in their usually cheeky stride. According to the Spin The Bottle website, the staff have established an annual award to be handed out to the crew member who inspires the most outrage, and they have named this award “The Pellington.”
Ironically, Pellington got his start at VH-1’s sister company, MTV, as an intern and eventually as a producer. He made a name for himself with his work on the “Jeremy” clip and as the man behind the visuals on U2’s landmark ZOO-TV tour.