WSJ probe Bon Jovi’s China cancellation

November 2016

Live events sector


The Wall Street Journal has published an article which seemingly alleges that AEG Live used a video of Bon Jovi “performing in front of an image of the Dalai Lama” to convince Chinese censors to ban the rock act – and thus force the cancellation of a concert tour in China which was being promoted by AEG. The supposed reason?  The third party intervention by Chinese authorities would be an instance of ‘force majeure’ – forcing the cancellation of the tour which was not selling well, saving AEG some $4 million.
WSJ say that whilst AEG did not offer any explanation for the cancellations at the time, it was widely reported at the time that the Chinese government withdrew permission for the tour after they became aware of a performance by the band a few years earlier in front of an image of the Dalai Lama – and WSJ say unnamed sources have said that individuals close to AEG Live ensured Chinese officials saw the videos with the intent of cutting potentially steep losses for the shows.
Jay Marciano, chairman of AEG Live and chief operating officer of AEG, categorically rejected the account, telling the Journal. “It’s an absurd notion that AEG would ever involve a government agency in order to mitigate a show loss. Our relationships with talent are too important, especially with Bon Jovi,” and added that they had worked with the band for more than a decade.
A representative for Bon Jovi told the WSJ that the band was only alerted to the potential problem with the tour after the permits had been revoked and that they had no knowledge of who circulated the videos. Bon Jovi’s most recent North American tour is being promoted by Live Nation
Amplify Media has raised questions about the WSJ claims. Amplify says that the WSJ reporters offer no evidence to back their assertions, and then wonders if the story was a “plant” to embarrass AEG. The news site mentions that AEG owner Phil Anschutz appeared on a panel with the Dalai Lama earlier this year, which Amplify wouldn’t make sense if he had used the Dalai Lama to force the cancellation of the shows as WSJ alleges.

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