PR Guy Pissing Match Erupts Over Racist Cheesesteak Pissing Match

Here’s what happens when publicists attack.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there’s been a big brouhaha over Northeast Philadelphia cheesesteak shop Chink’s changing its name to Joe’s. Supposedly, Joe’s business tanked because his old, racist customers boycotted him over his decision to “do the right thing” and ditch the name Chink’s.

Last week, Stu Bykofsky of the Daily News ran a feature about all this, and on Saturday, Philadelphia magazine’s own Joel Mathis organized an eat-in at Joe’s to show support for the restaurant and its enlightened ways. And I was pretty sure that would be the end of it.

But no.

Philadelphia public relations executive Peter Breslow (right) has decided to weigh in, because of course he has. On a blog post published this week, Breslow used the opportunity to take some wild shots at his competitor, publicist David Neff, who represents Joe’s.

It’s fair to say that Breslow, who represents local restaurants such as Bryn Mawr’s Verdad, Chestnut Hill’s Heirloom and the Dave Magrogan restaurants, didn’t like the way Neff handled the whole Chink’s/Joe’s situation:

Something I hate more than racial slurs? BAD PR. That’s right, I said it!

Breslow goes on to explain how Neff’s company “blew it”, but I’ll let you read Breslow’s peculiar diatribe for yourself.

It’s not unusual that Breslow has a low opinion of Neff, and vice versa. Grudges between publicists are not exactly uncommon. But normally, those grudges come out in cocktail party conversation. Something along the lines of: “Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but [insert publicist name here] was falling-down drunk at this party last weekend.” Or: “You didn’t hear from me, but [insert publicist name here] had sex in the bathroom at G Lounge last night.”

For Breslow to call Neff out so publicly is a little odd. “Listen, Neff was being lazy,” explains Breslow of his motivations in attacking his competitor. “He had to be called out for that.”

“I certainly don’t want to quantify this individual’s comments,” responds Neff, who is apparently unable to utter the name Peter Breslow. “I’ve had some very negative experiences with this individual where I was trying to help him at one point… But I always get a little excited when my competitors are trashing me. That tells me that my team and I are doing a good job and providing valuable services to our clients. I am glad that this individual has taken the opportunity to give my clients a little extra attention.”

This may all seem a little silly (OK, a lot silly), but it’s been a while since we’ve had a good Philly PR People Feud, so go ahead, guys, and have at it!

  • http://chrissmari.org ChrissMari

    Is he on crack? There was news about the name change way before Stu wrote about it.

  • Kylie Flett

    An open letter to Mr Breslow. (Which was originally posted on his blog but he deleted it. As well as 12 others).

    1. I am not sure Asian-American’s share your sentiment for the ‘hilarity’ in the ‘Chink’s’ name.

    2. Is CNN ‘National’ enough for ya? -http://youtu.be/V3fwSH6YKq0

    3. Joe has seen a significant increase in business since Stu’s article published – which Neff Associates orchestrated. I also presume you meant recently, versus ‘recent,’ Halloween versus ‘haloween,’ and cheesesteak versus ‘cheese steak.’ If there’s something worse than bad PR, it’s a publicist who can’t spell.

    4. Owner Joe Groh has been harassed, bullied and threatened via social media by hardcore ‘Chink’s’ loyalists. If you knew Joe at all, which you don’t, you would know that he is not trying to take a political stance on this topic, and is just trying to make the best damn cheesesteak in town. I did not see you on Saturday, and if I did, you would have noticed Joe thanked every customer personally for their support. Which is a little more heartfelt than a Facebook message.

    5. ‘Coming up short.’ Really? That’s about as creative as pumpkin cheesesteaks during Halloween.

  • Steph Parker

    Something he hates more than racial slurs is bad PR.
    The irony.

  • http://about.me/mikeyil Michaelangelo Ilagan
  • Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein

    Victor, it’s always bad for all of us PR folks when one of our own behaves badly, and that’s just what Peter Breslow did here. First, to equate racial slurs with bad PR is the worst kind of hyperbole, and patently offensive. Second, to use what you consider a competitors’ failings to publicly try to build yourself up is poor sportsmanship. But the piece de resistance is the rampant typos/bad grammar throughout Breslow’s blog. While we have no idea what guidance Groh was willing to take from his current publicist (the subject of Breslow’s diatribe), we do know that Breslow had complete control over the copy in his blog. I count more than five mistakes; perhaps you can come up with even more. And that, my friend, is bad PR for Mr. Breslow and his firm.

    • Jane Yavis

      My guess is he’s doing a public interview for a gig on WPHT.