At UN, Taylor Swift's
“Launch” Quietly Canceled After Questions, UN Leaves Door Open
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 25, updated -- More than a month ago, following reports that
Taylor Swift would “launch her album 'Speak Now' at the UN on
October 25,” Inner City Press asked the UN how and why its premises
were being used to promote a commercial venture.
Was Ms. Swift being
named a Goodwill Ambassador or pledging proceeds to some peacekeeping
The UN responded
the next day that “In response to a question asked on Thursday
about the singer Taylor Swift, the Spokesperson said that Ms. Swift's
album launch has been booked at the Delegates Dining Room as an
external event. There is no UN office involved in this event. The
Delegates Dining Room is a commercial space managed by Aramark and
available for bookings.”
Inner City Press
the issue on October 1 and again on October
18, asking how
the UN could retain no right to review to whom Aramark rents the UN's
building, and what claims can be made.
Now on October 25,
Inner City Press has been informed that the Taylor Swift event in the
UN Delegates' Dining Room has been canceled. Several DDR sources told
Inner City Press that it was canceled since you wrote about it,
Aramark is angry at all the money it is losing.
More than one UN
official has approached Inner City Press saying congratulations for
questioning the use of UN space and name for profit.
formally the UN has maintained that it has no role in Aramark's
renting out of the space. And another UN source says that VH-1
“didn't like how the UN Delegates' Dining Room looked” and
canceled, that it has nothing to do with the UN having scruples.
In fact, some reports have Taylor Swift still launching the album "on
the steps of the UN" (unclear which steps). We'll see - watch this site.
Update - hours after deadline, and two hours after
the event was
supposed to begin, this was received:
Subject: Your question on
From: UN Spokesperson Do Not Reply
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Date: Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 9:08 PM
We can confirm that Taylor
at one point reserved the Delegates Dining Room for a record launch
event, but that she later cancelled that booking and decided to use a
venue outside the UN for that launch. For further details, please
* * *
Bed Bugs Move to Capital Master Plan Office, Raising Price for Press
By Matthew Russell Lee
October 25 -- Bed bug infestation of the UN's Albano
Building “swing space” on 46th Street was exposed more than a
year ago by Inner City Press. An impromptu Town Hall
called, and UN officials assured the staff that everything possible
would be done to address the bed bug problem.
sources told Inner City Press that, in fact, the bed bug problem has
spread, now to the UN's own Capital Master Plan which is in charge of
fixing up the UN's building. Inner City Press went to ask CMP
spokesman Werner Schmidt to confirm or deny the presence of bed bugs
a bed bug sniffing dog checked our office and found [bed bugs] in our
conference rooms,” Schmidt to his credit immediately acknowledged.
conference room chairs were taken away”and that FMS (the Facilities
Management Service) is now in charge.
Back in May Inner City Press reported that
a rift had emerged among senior UN officials about inaction on
the bedbug infestation. In a memo leaked
City Press by a whistleblower, Under Secretary General Shaaban
Shaaban on May 11 wrote of CMP chief Michael Adlerstein that "In
my meeting with Mr. Adlerstein five weeks ago, I never agreed that
the Albano staff will be stacked there... So, in the stacking
proposal you sent to Mr. Nambiar on 4 May 2010... I read in the
appendix twice that 'based on initial consultations with DGACM,
agreement has been made to retain the use of the Albano Building,'
which does not reflect my discussion with Mr. Adlerstein."
Now bed bugs have been found in Adlerstein's own CMP Office.
UN's Ban and Adlerstein, bed bugs and
changing rent to press not shown
Also back in May, Inner City Press reported
that "the memo reveals
that Shaaban has been told that his staff, of the Department of
General Assembly and Conference Management, may not as promised be
allowed to return to their offices in UN headquarters.
has been told this as well. Their spots on the third and fourth
floor, it now appears, may be given for another use. This would leave
the press corp in the "whistleblower free zone" above the Library,
where all conversations can be heard...The effect
would be to drive smaller and
more independent press out of the UN, even as the UN gets less and
less press coverage, and fewer and fewer reporters attend the UN noon
months later, the UN press corps has now been told that the plan is,
even if they return to the third and fourth floor, they will for the
first time be charged rent.
They say this
UN administration's attempt to disclipline or even drive out the
independent press continues. Watch this space.