Although the First Amendment still guarantees freedom of speech, a growing number of private companies appear to be doing their best to limit the reach of messages by individuals whose opinions do not align with the prevailing leftist ideology.
Earlier this year, Eventbrite removed a listing for a “Let Women Speak” event based on the apparent belief that discussions of issues that affect biological females are inherently hateful.
Attention @eventbrite – being a woman is not a hate crime. #LetWomenSpeak #LetWomenSpeakATX @StopXXErasure @MeghanEMurphy @KnownHeretic @IWN @IWF @ThePosieParker @whosebodyisit @jordanbpeterson pic.twitter.com/YveT4zI8TG
— Michelle Evans (@ThinkerMichelle) July 13, 2023
More recently, and on a much larger scale, Live Nation Entertainment reportedly decided to cancel an event in Michigan to honor 9/11 first responders. Former Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson was set to headline the fourth annual “America Safety First” event, which also included comedians and musical guests on the lineup.
Now, organizers say they are scrambling to find an alternative — but Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, has a virtual monopoly on the online ticket-sale market, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have lamented in recent years.
Live Nation Entertainment President and CFO Joe Berchtold appeared before Congress in January, where he received bipartisan criticism over the size and scope of the company.
“The fact of the matter is that Live Nation/Ticketmaster is the 800-pound gorilla here,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said at the time, adding: “You have clear dominance [and] monopolistic control.”
After finally finding a venue without connections to the industry juggernaut, the America Safety First event appears to still be on. Nevertheless, organizers say they have already lost time and money by pursuing their original plans and indicate that a lawsuit against Live Nation could be forthcoming.
“Understand that when they said ‘yes,’ we submitted a $100,000 non-refundable deposit to Tucker,” said America Safety First co-chair Kevin Rinke. “Live Nation absolutely knew that we gave a deposit, absolutely told us the date was okay, absolutely worked with us on catering, on sound. They gave us pricing. And as soon as we said, ‘We’ve sent in the deposit, we need a contract,’ they said, ‘Oh, we changed our minds. Too bad.'”
He went on to denounce the outsized influence that companies like Live Nation have on the ability of Americans to reach an audience interested in hearing their point of view.
“People have a right to be heard and to attend to educate themselves,” Rinke added. “And you can’t have businesses directly or indirectly restricting those rights. That’s not how our country works.”