Selected for the Baltimore Business Journal’s up-and-coming young executive list – “40 Under 40″ – Betamore founder and CEO Mike Brenner decided to play a little prank and sent his twin brother Dan Brenner to the photo-shoot.
On Facebook, Brenner today explained what happened when BBJ editor-in-chief Joanna Sullivan found out the photo they were using in the print and online editions was Dan, not Mike:
She called him up and dis-invited him to next month’s banquet for honorees.
Sullivan meanwhile (in a piece on her site that made Jim Romenesko’s national media industry blog) explained why she found Brenner’s joke “not so entertaining.”
“I’m just a stick-in-the-mud newspaper editor who still worries about our readers getting the correct information,” she wrote. “The BBJ’s credibility is everything. When we make a mistake, we correct it. And in this case, a mere correction wasn’t enough.”
Brenner, for his part, said “sorry” on Facebook this way:
“For the BBJ and their staff, their readers, and the other award recipients that have felt offended or deceived, I do apologize.”
He also asked people to go onto the BBJ site – “not my Facebook thread” - and ask Sullivan to change her mind and re-invite him.
Reaction has come along since then hot and heavy, mostly on Facebook and almost entirely (205 “likes” and counting) pro-Brenner:
“I’m really sorry to hear they couldn’t take a joke. Life is too short to take so seriously!!! I thought it was funny, totally harmless, and wondered why you haven’t done it sooner,” wrote Monica Beeman.
Some sided with Sullivan, like Jamie Kendrick, who advised disinvitee Brenner: “Next time, don’t be an ass.”
For others, though, the disapproval was all of the mock variety.
“Offended? I’m more than offended. I’m hurt,” wrote Justin Allen. “I don’t know man, there’s just certain lines you don’t cross. Next thing you know, you’ll be cookin meth in a Winnebago way out in the desert with a former student, all the time lying to your family. It’s just not right.”
Others applauded the pranking as some Grade A publicity-garnering, or as Kay Line dubbed it: “Rockstar move!”