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Mike Portnoy Wages War with the British Healthcare System, His Fans

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Mike PortnoyIt was a crappy weekend for any Mike Portnoy fan who is just now realizing that the size of his drum kit is rivaled only by the size of his ego.

The trouble began when the former Dream Theater/Avenged Sevenfold skinsman became ill while touring with The Neal Morse Band in Europe. Portnoy subsequently went to Whittington Hospital in London, where he sought both treatment and reaffirmation that he’s an important celebrity. He ultimately received neither:

Needless to say, Portnoy’s statement ticked off scores of fans, who pointed out that emergency rooms have to prioritize patients by the seriousness of their affliction, not records sold. In fact, the very first thing to appear when you go to Whittington’s website is a banner warning patients that the hospital’s emergency department has their hands full:

Mike Portnoy Wages War with the British Healthcare System, His Fans

ANYWAY, at this point, Portnoy’s wife, Marlene, leapt into the fray to defend her husband, because the Portnoy family as a collective just does not get what people on the internet are like:

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When Marlene’s intervention somehow failed to soothe the angry horde, Portnoy finally offered an apology…

…and another defense from a third party:

From a PR perspective, this seems like a fairly classic example of the dangers of social media. Being sick is obviously no fun, and knowing you might have to let your fans down is also obviously no fun… but Portnoy was under no obligation to share every thought which popped into his head. If he felt obligated to explain to fans that he was ill and that said illness might have a negative effect on his performance, well, he or one of his bandmates could have done that from on-stage at the show, the way musicians toughing it through sickness did in ancient times, before Facebook existed. Or he just could have expressed what happened without coming off like an egomaniac (e.g., “I have no idea how I’m gonna play this show, I’m really sick, I went to the ER but they weren’t able to help me.”) But the internet not only allows people not just to share their every thought, but to share their every thought immediately, without first taking the time to think about those thoughts. Portnoy leapt before he looked, and he couldn’t cover the chasm.

From a human being perspective, this seems like a fairly classic case of Portnoy behaving like a putz. But that’s nothing new so I dunno why anyone is surprised.

Thanks to everyone who e-mailed us about this over the weekend.

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