MONEY SHOT. There's pseudo-news and real news in John Strahinich's Metro update in today's Boston Herald, which is accompanied by the characteristically restrained front-page headline "GLOBE PARTNER PEDDLES PORN."
The pseudo-news is that a Swedish company that televises nudie films owns a 28 percent share of Metro International - which, in turn, is the parent company of Boston's Metro newspaper. The New York Times Company, which owns the Boston Globe, plans to buy a 49 percent share of the local Metro.
Europeans tend to have a more enlightened view about all things sexual than Americans do, although I suppose it's noteworthy that the Swedish company's fare is racy enough to have raised the hackles of the Norwegians some 10 years ago. Come on, folks, just change the channel.
Still, there's big news farther down in Strahinich's story: Partners HealthCare and Brandeis University are reportedly rethinking whether to advertise in the Metro following reports of vicious racist jokes in the upper reaches of Metro International management. Partners is the parent company of Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women's. Strahinich writes:
"We'd have to evaluate the situation, obviously, if we decide to do additional advertising in the Metro," said Partners spokeswoman Petra Langer. "It's obviously disturbing."
Added Brandeis spokesman Dennis Nealon: "Brandeis would not want to advertise in a venue that would be connected to this kind of behavior."
This is obviously a potential deal-breaker, and is the sort of thing that could persuade the Times Company to walk away from the $16.5 million deal - or to move ahead and buy the remaining 51 percent so that they don't have to do business with Metro International. Strahinich quotes an internal e-mail from Globe publisher Richard Gilman to the effect that things could change between now and the closing date.