Sharon Osbourne Responds To AEG Statement On End Of ‘Statement Of Commitment’ Suit

Sharon Osborne
– Sharon Osborne

Update: Sharon Osbourne has responded to a public statement from AEG regarding the end of Ozzy Osbourne’s lawsuit against the company over the joint-booking of the Staples Center in Los Angeles and The O2 in London.
“We know Mr. Anschutz (aka “Daddy Big Bucks”) is living in his billionaire bubble, but the fact is that Ozzy sued AEG for the right to perform at the O2 in London. We won the case and Ozzy’s show at the O2 went on sale on September 5 for a show next year (February 11, 2019)–so in my world that means we won the case.  Ozzy is playing the O2 without having to play the Staples Center, which is all that mattered to us.  From the start of this dialogue in February, this has been a battle about respect for the artists and their personal preferences.  It wasn’t then and isn’t now a battle between promoters, which is how this is being portrayed by the recent statement from AEG claiming this as a “victory.”
“To say that this ‘suit was instigated by Azoff and paid for by MSG and Live Nation,’ and that ‘it was hatched on the back of an artist who we believe had no idea what he was biting off,’ is untrue and disrespectful to Ozzy, myself and the entire team working on this tour.  Whatever differences you have with Irving Azoff, don’t presume you know who instigated the lawsuit or you know anything about Ozzy Osbourne, because you obviously don’t know anything about Ozzy’s history or mine.  So stop with your hubbildy, bubbuldy BULLSHIT and your little pissing contest with Live Nation and MSG. …
“Ozzy’s preference was to perform at The Forum, a venue that has been a part of his music history for more than 46 years.  From the start, this was not a battle solely for Ozzy, as much as one for other artists who were being forced to abide by these rules and regulations.  Let’s not all forget why you’re here…the artists.”

Dan Wall, partner at Latham & Watkins, who represents Sharon & Ozzy Osbourne, issued the following statement to Pollstar: “Two weeks ago I stood in front of Judge Fischer and said that if AEG dropped the policy, we would drop the lawsuit. That’s what happened. End of story.”
After AEG formally ended the policy of joint-booking its venues The O2 in London and Staples Center in Los Angeles Sept. 12, Ozzy Osbourne announced he was dropping his legal battle over the matter Sept. 22. 
The news came via Variety that the Prince of Darkness’ attorney agreed to drop the suit and the lawsuit was dismissed. Presumably, this means that Ozzy would be allowed to play the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and The O2 in London, if desired and available, as part of his “No More Tours 2” farewell trek, which is next slated to hit Dallas Sept. 26.
The tour moves through Southern California in early October, with shows in Chula Vista Oct. 9 and at Hollywood Bowl Oct. 11.
AEG released the following statement, partially drafted by owner Phil Anschutz, to Amplify: “On Friday, Ozzy Osbourne dismissed the class action lawsuit he filed against AEG.  This dismissal with prejudice is a victory for AEG.  We were fully prepared to see the case through to vindicate our policy, but now that Osbourne has decided to dismiss with prejudice, the case is over.
“Our policy was an appropriate, lawful and effective competitive response to Irving Azoff’s pressure tactics seeking to force artists into the Forum.  If those tactics resurface, we will redeploy our policy as needed. The Osbourne suit was instigated by Azoff and paid for by MSG and Live Nation.  It was hatched on the back of an artist who we believe had no idea what he was biting off.  The suit was a transparent public relations ploy that failed to pressure AEG into backing down from a booking policy that was an effective competitive response to the MSG-Forum tie.”
“It is no surprise that once AEG refused to back down, Azoff, MSG and Live Nation became eager to drop the case as soon as possible.  They dismissed the case with prejudice after realizing AEG would aggressively defend it, costing them tens of millions of dollars and posing a source of embarrassment once their questionable tactics were exposed in the course of discovery and trial.”
Prior to that, Marciano had issued the following statement to Variety: “Going forward promoters for artists who want to play the O2 will no longer to be required to commit to playing Staples. We would only require that commitment if we had reason to believe that artists were being somehow pressured to play the Forum in order to have access to the Garden. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from artists and agents and managers that they’re no longer [feeling that pressure]. We’re pleased that this is the end result.”
Azoff [who is on the board of Oak View Group, Pollstar’s parent company] provided the following statement to Pollstar: “It’s a great day for artists when those of us that make a living serving them recognize that artists should have the right to their own decisions, especially regarding choice of venues to play. I applaud Jay Marciano and AEG’s decision to put artists first and of course thanks to Ozzy and Sharon for standing up for everyone.”
AEG presents CEO Jay Marciano and Irving Azoff, whose Azoff MSG Entertainment runs the Forum, publicly went back and forth about the competition between their venues for some time. The issue came to a head in March when Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne made the decision to sue AEG after the company asked Ozzy to sign a “Staples Center Commitment” document outlining a booking policy essentially stipulating that if Ozzy performed at The O2 – London for his “No More Tours 2” tour [which is currently running through the U.S.], the Prince Of Darkness would play Staples at least once.
AEG filed a memorandum seeking the dismissal of that suit June 1, but Judge Dale S. Fischer said that AEG’s arguments were “unpersuasive” and that Osbourne’s allegations that the policy harmed competition were plausible.