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Blade admits the man who served as communications director for three years doesn’t actually exist


The company dubbed the ‘Uber for helicopters’ has admitted the man who served as its communications director for three years doesn’t actually exist. 

Blade CEO Rob Wisenthal confessed to inventing company spokesperson Simon McLaren in an interview with Business Insider this week. 

The persona known as McLaren spent the last three years responding to press requests and being interviewed for articles for the likes of Vanity Fair and the New York Post. 

He had his own Twitter account in which he was described as a ‘Jaded New Yorker, raconteur, college dropout writer, student of highly driven narcissists’ and a Medium profile where – in the absence of his own photo – he adopted a 1966 photo of the British racing driver Graham Hill as his profile picture.

McLaren even launched a company blog called ‘Simon McLaren’s Curious Content.’

Blade, which provides chartered jets and helicopters to the rich, then went so far as to stage a dramatic fallout between the company and the spokesman back in January, where they had a spat over the blog, with McLaren slamming the company’s editing ‘the literary equivalent of melba toast.’ 

Blade – the company dubbed the ‘Uber for helicopters’ – has admitted the man who served as its communications director for three years doesn’t actually exist. Pictured a Blade helicopter flying over New York City 

Wisenthal admitted Thursday that Blade created the phony character as an alias to respond to press inquiries. 

The CEO revealed he often posed as McLaren to take calls with the media. 

He justified the bizarre deception claiming many small start-ups adopt such a practice because they don’t have enough experienced staff to speak to the media. 

‘When we were a small company, everyone had to wear many hats. When it was appropriate for a spokesperson to respond to a press inquiry rather than the CEO, given that we did not have a spokesperson, we used the pseudonym typically in email communications,’ Wisenthal said in a statement to DailyMail.com.  

He told Insider many other companies also adopt similar strategies.   

‘A lot of people wanted a name for a spokesman, and it was just not appropriate for a CEO to speak. And a lot of people didn’t have training on how to speak with the press,’ he said. 

Blade CEO Rob Wisenthal (pictured) confessed to inventing company spokesperson Simon McLaren and that he had posed as the alias to speak with the press

Blade CEO Rob Wisenthal (pictured) confessed to inventing company spokesperson Simon McLaren and that he had posed as the alias to speak with the press 

‘There are a lot of small companies that have done this and continue to do this, but at a certain point you outgrow it, and we outgrew it.’ 

Wisenthal insisted that, while the identity of the spokesperson was fictional, the information was always accurate. 

‘Whether using the pseudonym or not, every question answered or comment made to the press was factual,’ he told DailyMail.com.   

The first known appearance of McLaren was in a Vanity Fair article in 2018, where he commented on federal flying regulations. 

Since then, his name has sprung up in articles for multiple publications across various topics and issues, while his name and email address featured on company press releases. 

The persona known as McLaren had spent the last three years responding to press requests. McLaren had his own Twitter account which now appears to have been removed

The persona known as McLaren had spent the last three years responding to press requests. McLaren had his own Twitter account which now appears to have been removed 

He had a Medium profile where he adopted a 1966 photo of the British racing driver Graham Hill as his profile picture (above)

He had a Medium profile where he adopted a 1966 photo of the British racing driver Graham Hill as his profile picture (above)

Blade told DailyMail.com the company stopped using the press inquiry pseudonym in the summer of 2020.  

However a press release as recent as November still had the alias. 

McLaren’s Medium profile also was created that month and the Twitter account followed in December, Insider reported. 

Both appeared to have been deleted Friday morning. 

Meanwhile, in October, ‘Simon McLaren’s Curious Content’ was launched, sending short blog posts to email subscribers on topics ranging from New York restaurants to work Zoom meetings.    

The newsletter was sent out for 12 weeks until January when Blade staged a fallout with the spokesman.

Blade sent a letter to subscribers announcing it was parting ways with McLaren and that the spokesman would be taking the newsletter with him, reported Insider. 

He even launched a company blog called 'Simon McLaren's Curious Content' (above). Blade, even went so far as to stage a dramatic fallout between the company and the spokesman back in January, where McLaren blasted the firm over its editing of the blog

He even launched a company blog called ‘Simon McLaren’s Curious Content’ (above). Blade, even went so far as to stage a dramatic fallout between the company and the spokesman back in January, where McLaren blasted the firm over its editing of the blog

‘We are living in a uniquely polarizing time,’ the statement said. 

‘As such, despite how much we enjoy Simon McLaren’s Curious Content and his unique perspective on what it’s like to be a diehard New Yorker in this day and age, both Simon and the Company have decided that it’s best that we part ways and transition his weekly newsletter from Blade to him.’

The letter also included a comment from McLaren hitting out at the company over its involvement in editing his blog posts.  

‘My weekly dispatches have little interest to me or my readers unless they create emotion — laughter or perhaps annoyance, and at times, happiness or even unexpected animus,’ it said.

‘I appreciate the platform Blade has given me, but I am at the point in my life where I have little interest in Blade, or its partners, bleaching my prose in an effort to avoid any readers potentially being triggered by my views.

Blade told DailyMail.com the company stopped using press inquiry pseudonym in the summer of 2020. However a press release as recent as November still contains the alias (above)

Blade told DailyMail.com the company stopped using press inquiry pseudonym in the summer of 2020. However a press release as recent as November still contains the alias (above) 

‘Over the past few weeks, Blade’s editing process has created the literary equivalent of melba toast. Simply put, my views are not subject to negotiation.’ 

The timing of the split coincided appeared to coincide with the helicopter firm going public via a sale to a blank-check company that valued it at about $825 million. 

Wisenthal claimed to Insider that McLaren’s dramatic exit from the company had been an ‘inside joke.’     

The company said the blog was originally created ‘to provide much needed levity to our fliers, and to keep our content and marketing team engaged.’

It now ‘continues to provide lighthearted and cheeky content not associated with the company, its operations or our industry’ – minus a byline.  



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