Cablevision's Dolan calls 73-year-old Knicks fan a 'hateful mess'

You don't often see chief executives of major cable companies calling customers funny names and suggesting they have an alcohol problem.

But Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) CEO James Dolan, who also serves as executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company, owner of the New York Knicks, did just that in a response to an angry Knicks fan.

With the Knicks touting the NBA's second worst record and coming off more than a decade of on-court futility under Dolan's leadership, 73-year-old Irving Bierman sent Dolan a letter, taking the executive to task for what he sees as a series of disastrous decisions relating to the team.

In his response, obtained by Deadspin, Dolan lets the lifelong Knickerbockers fan have it:

"Why would anybody write such a hateful letter?," Dolan writes. "I am just guessing but I'll bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice? I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21-year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it. Maybe it will help you become a person that folks would like to have around. In the meanwhile, start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don't want you. Respectfully, James Dolan."

Granted, Dolan isn't addressing an Optimum triple play customer here. But the caustic missive to one of his companies' loyal entertainment consumers is striking, nonetheless.

"We thought maybe [Dolan] would admit he made some mistakes," said Aaron Bierman, the son of Irving Bierman, in a phone interview with ESPN. "Instead, he confirmed some of the worst things that fans think of him."

News of Dolan's letter comes amid speculation that a management shakeup occurring at Cablevision, MSG and AMC Networks signals some upcoming dealmaking. On Friday, it was announced that Brian Sweeney was taking over for Cablevision CFO Gregg Siebert, with Siebert now enjoying vice chairman roles at all three companies. 

For more:
- read this Deadspin story
- read this ESPN story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related links:
Cablevision names Sweeney CFO as Siebert moves to vice chairman
Cablevision kicks off Freewheel sales, says it's a 'data usage' service
Cablevision sues Verizon over 'deceptive' ads about Wi-Fi superiority
TWC's Marcus on Cablevision's Freewheel: 'I think it's pretty cool'