Sharon Osbourne Claims Live Events Company Is Attempting to ‘Blackmail’ Ozzy Osbourne
Sharon Osbourne is claiming that husband Ozzy Osbourne is being “blackmailed” by event agency AEG Live. According to Billboard, Sharon is publicly accusing AEG of using controversial block-booking practices to force Ozzy into performing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
As a part of Ozzy’s ‘No More Tours 2’ farewell run, the Prince of Darkness was apparently entering a deal to perform at London’s O2 Arena (which AEG owns) on Feb. 11, 2019. As a part of the commitment, AEG attempted to add a provision stating if Ozzy Osbourne played an indoor arena within 25 miles of Los Angeles that was promoted by Live Nation during "No More Tours 2," he would have to play the AEG-owned Staples Center as well.
"Shame on AEG for bringing artists into a power struggle you're having with your competitor, Live Nation," Sharon Osbourne wrote on Feb. 7. "I can assure you that Live Nation would never strong-arm an artist into playing a venue they're not comfortable performing in."
AEG Live chairman/CEO Jay Maricano responded, "Dear Sharon, Thank you for your note. Please understand this dispute is between The Forum and Staples Center and we couldn’t agree with you more — it should always be the artist’s choice. We long for the days when artists and fans came first. PS - The other guys started this first!"
The following day, Sharon released her “blackmail” response. "This is a staggering attempt to blackmail Ozzy into playing your venue in Los Angeles," she claims. "It is also a complete abuse of bargaining power and not conducive to a free market. If you do not confirm the date for Ozzy at the O2 in London then I will be forced to take legal action against AEG Live! without delay. I find the way you're conducting yourself and your company to be no more than childish playground tactics. I cannot be involved in a squabble between two venue owning promoters as my interests only lie 100 pecent with Ozzy.”
AEG declined to respond to Sharon Osbourne’s latest letter.
Live Nation U.K. chairman Denis Desmond also reacted to the story, filing a complaint with the Competition and Market Authority (CMA), arguing AEG violated British competition and anti-trust laws. The CMA dismissed the complaint since the dispute began in Los Angeles instead of London.
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