Upcoming book signings by Michael Vick at three Barnes and Nobles locations, including one in Exton, have been canceled following multiple death and dismemberment threats to Vick on Facebook and by phone.
Byron Williamson, the president of Worthy Publishing, the publisher of Vick’s book, Finally Free, told Tim McManus of Philly Mag the following:
“While we stand by Michael Vick’s right to free speech and the retailers’ right to free commerce, we cannot knowingly put anyone in harm’s way, and therefore we must announce the cancellation of Mr. Vick’s book-signing appearances. We’ve been assured these threats of violence, which have been reported to the police, are being taken very seriously by local authorities.”
“I would go there to slit your throat knowing how you treat animals.”
“I would snap your neck if I met you, your a piece of trash.”
“We should push your daughter into a pool with a battery.”
“When I see you, I’m going to bash your head in.”
A spokesperson for Vick told Action News last night that the threats have increased over the past week…
"He's obviously concerned about it. He's concerned about it. You know, Mike is committed to working with the community, to talking with kids, to getting them to make positive decisions in their lives and he's going to continue to do that.”
"We had an uptick in the number of threats that were made against Michael Vick, as well as his family. The threats were made against the bookstore property, as well as bookstore employees.”
Last Monday, I posted pictures of Vick with his dog, a Belgian Malinois, at a New Jersey PetSmart. Those pictures went everywhere – from TMZ to the New York Post to Jimmy Kimmel – and they appear to be the cause of the most recent threats, something that, obviously, wasn’t the intended outcome. I left out the exact location of the PetSmart to prevent this very sort of thing.
Death threats on the Internet are nothing new, however. I imagine just about every celebrity or athlete gets them. I have, too. For Vick, it’s certainly nothing new, but there’s obviously been enough of an increase to scare him, his publisher, and perhaps more importantly, Barnes and Noble and its employees. The latter may be the true driving force behind the cancellations. Here are the Facebook postings of two animal groups that were encouraging their members to call Barnes and Noble in Exton. Together, the two groups have over 15k likes:
It's unknown whether Vick is or was planning on attending. Parties like this one, apparently coordinated by the ever goofy Marcus Vick, have used his Vick’s name for promotional purposes in the past, perhaps without knowledge to Vick himself. But judging by the “in conjunction with V7” (Vick’s brand) line and the fact that Vick was scheduled to be in Atlanta, we’ll assume that he was planning on stopping by.