Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) renewed his calls for Live Nation Entertainment to be broken up after yet another safety incident at an event it was running last week. Rep. Pascrell, long a vocal opponent of the entertainment giant that he openly argues is a monopoly, says that the company’s chokehold on the industry, coupled with its poor safety record, should spur lawmakers to act.
“About 200 deaths and 750 injuries occurred at Live Nation events since 2006,” Rep. Pascrell told the New York Post. “Have safety measures not improved? Has Live Nation silenced organizers? I want answers. I think the public deserves to know.”
Comedian Dave Chappelle was attacked on stage at the Hollywood Bowl while performing last week at an event run by Live Nation. In the incident, a man who was reportedly carrying a replica handgun that had a knife blade in it, rushed the stage and attempted to tackle him. The attacker was subdued by security and Chappelle was uninjured, but has expressed anger at the fact that the attacker has not been charged with any felonies in related to the incident.
Security at the event was reportedly in the hands of the same company subcontracted by Live Nation to handle security at Astroworld Festival in Houston, which ended in tragedy when a crowd crush incident took the lives of ten attendees and injured hundreds of others.
Rep. Pascrell has been among the most vocal in the months since calling for serious action to be taken against Live Nation over what he and others characterize as a poor record of safety animated by the pursuit of profit. He called for the company to be broken up in November following Astroworld, and more recently wrote an open letter to the FTC and DOJ asking that they examine their legal authority for undoing the 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster that created the current entity controlling the overwhelming majority of the live event and ticketing business in North America.
He is among those arguing that the company’s safety record illustrates its prioritizing profit over the safety of those who attend events. The Post cites a litany of safety failures at Live Nation events in the last 12 years:
- A 2010 Vancouver Olympics event when surging fans caused a barrier to collapse and 19 people were injured.
- The 2017 Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people.
- The Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017 that killed 60.
- Involvement in a $50 million settlement with stage-collapse victims from the 2011 Indiana State Fair, where seven people died and 61 were injured.
- A judge ordering the company to pay $101 million in 2019 to a worker crushed by a forklift while working at a company event.
- 10 federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations between 2016 and 2019 and multiple fines for safety issues including problems with scaffolding that caused someone in Connecticut to fall.
- Being named in more than 100 lawsuits involving the Astroworld tragedy.
“They may double the profits, and they still didn’t do anything about the safety of folks who go to their concerts,” Pascrell said. “The disaster results are obvious in terms of how many people died. They got to be held accountable, just like any other business.”
Live Nation, which reported its most profitable quarter ever last week, has been asked to answer questions on its safety record by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. A hearing in front of that committee for CEO Michael Rapino was initially scheduled for February, but has been postponed and not rescheduled. It is unclear at this time if or when it will occur. A March report indicated that Live Nation outspends other companies in the entertainment industry by a 5-to-1 margin on lobbying.
Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Dave Clark