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Ticketmaster Criticism Intensifies After Ignoring Calls to Deplatform Farrakhan Event

By March 6, 2023Article

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Ticketmaster is starting to come under further criticism after the company seemingly ignored requests to deplatform tickets for Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan’s February 26 speech.

Ticketmaster is starting to come under further criticism after the company seemingly ignored requests to deplatform tickets for Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan’s February 26 speech.

Farrakhan gave the keynote address to the NOI’s Saviours’ Day conference in Chicago; prior to the event, Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) had sent a letter to Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino urging Ticketmaster to reconsider allowing tickets to be sold for the event. The letter was signed by more than 120 entertainment industry leaders including Haim Saban and Sherry Lansing but did not receive a reply from the company.

Farrakhan’s speech, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), was “a relentless stream of antisemitic commentary accusing Jews of controlling world governments, the media, and financial institutions,” according to the ADL. Farrakhan also seemed to suggest that the Jews were going to face another Holocaust. “A Jewish man said to me, ‘You know, we say never again. Never again will we be in the oven. Never again,’” Farrakhan said, per the ADL. “I said, ‘Hold it.’ You can say that to men, but you can’t say that to God. Because the Bible says, behold the day cometh that shall burn — as a what? —as an oven. And those who do wickedly, He will slay them and leave them neither root nor branch…The War of Armageddon is to decide who will live on this earth.”

Additionally, Farrakhan defended rapper Kanye West as “a very great brother” and “young God.”

The Washington Free Beacon reported on March 2 that while most members of Congress have been silent on Ticketmaster allowing its platform to be used for the Farrakhan, they did find a couple willing to speak out. “It is extremely concerning that Ticketmaster is choosing to use its platform to elevate and promote a well-known antisemite,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told the conservative news site. “The targeting of the Jewish people has gone on far too long and must stop.”

“Antisemitism has no place in America,” Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) also told the Free Beacon. “Ticketmaster should be completely transparent on why it chose to profit off of Farrakhan’s abhorrent history of hatred and violent threats of genocide against the Jewish people.”

Jewish groups also criticized Ticketmaster, per The Algemeiner.

“Four decades of non-stop vicious Jew-hatred from Louis Farrakhan has born poison fruit in the mainstream of our society,” Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda Rabbi Abraham Cooper said in a March 1 statement. “Words lead to action and his toxic hatred has been absorbed by many including Kanye West. We urge all our neighbors to reject his hate and we must commit to strengthen our relationships for the betterment of all Americans whatever their color creed or orientation.”

He added: “We have tracked and denounced Farrakhan and his trail of Jew-hatred and anti-Semitic incitement for four decades. Yet, the godfather of hate has rarely been publicly criticized. Indeed, access to this year’s speech was handled by Ticketmaster, at a time when American Jewry is reeling from violent anti-Semitic hate crimes. Farrakhan has rarely been held accountable for his serial Jew-hatred and in 2023, Ticketmaster and others have monetized his hate and expanded the reach of his hatred.”

CCFP tweeted on February 28, “@Ticketmaster would rightly refuse to sell tickets to a KKK rally, but to our deep disappointment, they knowingly enabled Farrakhan’s dangerous #antisemitic hate.”


Stop Antisemitism said in a statement to the Journal, “Ticketmaster has completely lost its moral compass by profiting off the hate of someone like Louis Farrakhan.”

ADL Midwest Regional Director David Goldenberg told the Journal that they haven’t been focusing on Ticketmaster; their focus has been on the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA). The MPEA has a public-private partnership with Wintrust Arena, where the Farrakhan event was held. On February 13, the ADL Midwest had sent a letter to the MPEA in conjunction with the Chicago Jewish Community Relations Council and the LGTBQ+ advocacy organization Equality Illinois expressing concern over Farrakhan’s rhetoric; since the event took place, ADL Midwest has been urging the MPEA to condemn Farrakhan’s speech.

“We recognize that there may be contractual obligations, but we also felt that they have the right––a protected right––to speak out against that type of hate speech when it occurs underneath their roof,” Goldenberg said. “We have since shared excerpts from his remarks. We’ve engaged with board members and other public officials about this to express concern that… anything that has some type of public entity gave Farrakhan such a platform to espouse hate and bigotry and antisemitism.”


Ticketmaster did not respond to the Journal’s requests for comment.

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