- Ticketmaster updated language in its refund policy to only promise returns for canceled events.
- The previous language also included refunds for postponed and rescheduled events, so many assumed the change was suspicious given the number of shows effected by the coronavirus pandemic.
- Ticketmaster claims that the language update was only intended to clarify that refunds for postponed/rescheduled shows were never up to them, but instead event organizers.
- StubHub was also slammed for changing its refund policy. Rather than a full refund, StubHub users will get a credit worth 120% of the original cost of their ticket but only if an event is canceled.
Language Change in Refund Policy Causes Outrage
Ticketmaster updated the language in its refund policy amid the coronavirus pandemic, causing confusion and anger from ticketholders hoping to get their money back for canceled events.
Ticketmaster’s refund policy previously stated that “refunds are available if your event is postponed, rescheduled or canceled.” Now, it’s been cut down to say that “refunds are available if your event is canceled,” leaving postponed and rescheduled shows in limbo.
As the coronavirus spreads artists like Justin Bieber, BTS, and others have postponed shows left and right, meaning a lot of fans are wondering if a refund will be coming their way. Many have taken their frustrations to Twitter. Some hoped that artists would move to fully canceling tours to aid refunds, while others thought this should motivate artists to move their sales from Ticketmaster to other platforms.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) also tweeted about the new policy language, saying the ticket selling giant was in a “competition to provide the worst customer service in any industry.”
Ticketmaster Claims Policy is Consistent
Ticketmaster, however, is claiming that there has not actually been a change in their policy. The company gave statements to USA Today and the New York Times claiming their refund policy has remained consistent, and that this was simply a change in wording for clarity.
Ticketmaster put out a blog post in March titled “Information Regarding the Cancellation and Rescheduling of Live Events” to explain its policy moving forward as events were forced to cancel due to COVID-19 concerns.
“As we receive updates from artists, teams and show organizers on their postponed and rescheduled events, as well as their individual refund policies, we will be providing fans with the latest news on their event status via this comprehensive information portal,” the company wrote.
In that portal, fans can view the status of upcoming events to see if their shows had been canceled.
“As always, canceled events are automatically refunded,” the post continued. “If an event organizer is offering refunds for postponed or rescheduled events, a refund link will appear on your Ticketmaster account. Otherwise, you are encouraged to periodically check back online to see if the status of their event has changed.”
All of this was essentially to say that refunds could still be offered in the event of a postponed or rescheduled concert, but the responsibility lies with the event’s organizer, not Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster claims that this has always been the case, but fans were still irritated as the initial wording of their refund policy implied guaranteed refunds.
Some have also had trouble getting money refunded to their accounts. One concert goer told the New York Times that of the many shows she had lined up this year that are no longer happening, but she has not seen the money for any.
“I have about $3,000 tied up in these tickets,” she said. “This is my money that they are holding hostage.”
Some artists have given fans varying information about what will happen to their tickets now that their concerts are put on hold. Former One Direction star Niall Horan, who canceled his 2020 tour, told his fans they will get full refunds, and to visit his website for more information. On the other hand, Justin Bieber, who postponed his tour, told fans to hang tight to their tickets while new dates are being settled.
Others, like Camila Cabello, are simply telling fans that more information is coming down the pipeline.
Anger at StubHub
Ticketmaster is not the only ticket vendor causing frustrations with their refund policy. The latest changes to StubHub’s refund policy have also raised eyebrows. If an event is postponed, tickets remain with the buyer until a new date has been selected. If it has been rescheduled, StubHub send the new details but if the buyer cannot make it, no refund will be given. SubHub users will be left to resell the ticket on the site.
If the event has been cancelled, StubHub will give the buyer a coupon worth 120% of the original order that can be used through the end of 2021 as a credit on their account. In no case was a full cash refund offered.
As a result of this, StubHub is being sued, with some saying they should be legally obligated to give money back for canceled events. Some have also complained that refund credits have not made it to their accounts within the promised timeframes.
Impact on Concert Industry
Fans are not the only ones who stand to lose from canceled events during this pandemic. According to Pollstar, the concert industry could lose close to $9 billion this year if events remain blacked out. That means that along with ticket sellers and venues, several jobs related to these massive events could be at risk.
“Each tour pays or helps pay the salaries of tens, if not hundreds of thousands who work in venues, production, marketing, concessions, security, box offices, sponsorships and more,” Pollstar notes. “Consider: each parked bus that would have been carrying crew not only includes other passengers who would be earning a living, but every night in every city on the route, hundreds of people would have been involved in making the magic happen at venues that now sit empty.”
See what others are saying: (New York Times) (USA Today) (LoudWire)
Disney Eviscerates Scarlett Johansson’s “Black Widow” Lawsuit as “Callous,” but Report Suggests Emma Stone and Emily Blunt May Follow Her Lead
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in an uncharacteristically blunt statement that was heavily criticized online.
Johansson/Disney Lawsuit Gets Bitter
Disney has described a recent lawsuit from “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson as “sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” but Johansson may have just unleashed what is to become an even bigger legal challenge for the House of Mouse.
At the center of this dispute, Johansson alleges she lost $50 million because Disney opted for a dual streaming/theater release of “Black Widow,” which debuted in theaters and for $30 on Disney+ with Premier Access earlier this month.
According to Johansson’s suit, her contract with Disney — which was negotiated prior to any hint of a pandemic — stipulated that “Black Widow” would see an exclusive theater release. Notably, the actress also said her contractual bonuses were tied to the movie’s box office performance, which is an extremely common practice with films featuring A-list celebrities.
Of course, when the pandemic hit — like many other industries — movies were upended. Pandemic-related changes meant that despite having an initial release date of May 2020, Marvel fans wouldn’t get a chance to see “Black Widow” for over a year.
Still, Johansson said she tried to contact Disney to renegotiate her contract prior to the film’s ultimate release, but she claims the company was unresponsive.
On Thursday, she then filed a complaint with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, with her attorney arguing that “Disney has enjoyed the benefits of having one of Hollywood’s top actresses promote its wholly owned subscription service at no additional cost to Disney, and with the intended effect of taking money out of that actress’ own pocket.”
Later Thursday, Disney claimed that it has “fully complied” with Johansson’s contract and that the streamed release of the film “has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date.”
“There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the company said in its uncharacteristically blunt statement.
Are Emma Stone and Emily Blunt Next?
Speaking of blunt, it was reported Friday that both Emily Blunt and Emma Stone may also file lawsuits against Disney’s dual streaming release of their films.
In fact, according to an exclusive newsletter run by former Hollywood Reporter Editor Matt Belloni, Stone “is said to be weighing her options” over the dual release of “Cruella” in May. Meanwhile, he suggested Blunt could also take action or speak out following this weekend’s release of “Jungle Cruise.”
Belloni went on to describe Disney as “notoriously difficult to deal with” regarding such matters and claimed that many have simply been waiting for someone powerful enough to speak out.
Disney Criticized for Its Response
Much of the public perception of the situation has led to overwhelming support for Johansson’s camp. Online, a slew of people lambasted Disney’s response, with many calling it a deflection.
See what others are saying: (ScreenRant) (Newsweek) (Variety)
Candace Owens and Logan Paul in Talks to Debate
A spokesperson confirmed to Insider Wednesday that the two have had “productive” conversations about the prospect offline.
Candace Owens Challenges Logan Paul to a Debate
Right-wing commentator Candace Owens and controversial YouTuber Logan Paul are in talks to engage in a political debate. Yes, you read that sentence correctly.
Owens — best known for making false claims about the George Floyd protests, spreading COVID-19 misinformation, and seemingly saying that Adolf Hitler “just wanted to make Germany great” — first challenged Paul to a debate on Friday. It started with her sharing a year-old clip from Paul’s podcast where he spoke about the importance of fighting racism in the United States.
“It is not enough to be ‘not racist.’ You have to be anti-racist,” he said.
“If you’re white, if you look like me, use your privilege,” he added. “And for those who do not think white privilege exists, you are fucking blind.”
Because merely acknowledging the existence of racism appears to go against Owens’ core beliefs, she asked Paul to duke it out with her.
“Logan loves to challenge people in the boxing ring,” she wrote. “I’d like to publicly challenge him to go a few rounds with me in a political debate. @LoganPaul—how about you stop by my show and explain to me how you’re *checks notes* more privileged than me because you’re white and I’m not?”
Spokesperson Confirms The Two Are in Talks
Paul — best known for launching a boxing career and filming a YouTube video that showed a dead body in Japan’s “suicide forest” — said on Tuesday that he was “perplexed” by the offer, but was taking it seriously.
“I started to entertain this action, I ended up speaking with her, and there may be a future where we sit down and have a civil discourse because I think there’s some meat on this bone,” he said during the most recent episode of his “ImPaulsive” podcast.
The internet star acknowledged that Owens’ main arena is politics, while his main arena is being a “fucking idiot” online. Still, he said he does care about these issues and has a “semi-intelligent brain,” so he thinks he could “hold [his] own.”
“Candace Owens, whether you can admit it or not, is a smart person,” Paul continued. “And so I guess I’m just curious because I just fucking fundamentally disagree with her and again, I think there’s room for a conversation.”
A spokesperson for Owens confirmed to Insider on Wednesday that the two had a “productive” offline conversation and said a public political debate between the two is “very likely.”
“Although both of them disagree on a variety of topics, they are both much more interested in learning from one another and think people would benefit from hearing an honest discussion between two parties rather than a ‘gotcha’ moment that might play well for social media,” the spokesperson added.
See what others are saying: (Insider)
Finneas Slams Billie Eilish Troll Account for Attributing Fake Quotes to the Singer
Eilish’s big brother said the account is spreading “relentless lies” and asked that it at least label itself as a satire account.
Troll Account Shares Fake Billie Eilish Quotes
Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas took to Twitter Tuesday to address an account that has been sharing fake quotes attributed to his sister.
The account uses the handle @BilliesUpdatess and goes by the name of “Billie Eilish Updates” in its profile. It was created in July of 2021 and as of Wednesday morning, it had amassed a following of 1,100 people. On a quick glance, it looks just like any other update account a fan might make to share news about their favorite celebrity.
@BilliesUpdatess, however, is far from the standard adoring fan page. Of the over 300 tweets it has posted, several include screenshots of forged articles that make it look like Eilish said something either offensive or totally outlandish. One post claims Eilish defended her boyfriend after he was accused of supporting former president Donald Trump.
“At the end of the day, I fucking love him you know?” the phony statement reads. “It doesn’t matter if he made some homophobic comments in the past, people change. If he [Matthew] supports Donald Trump then I don’t care if it makes him happy. I support EVERY decision Mathew has to make, even the ones some of my fans don’t agree with, like maybe some of his icky comments.”
In another sham passage, Eilish says she thinks queerbaiting “is a really good thing!” In several others, the person behind the account comes up with artificial quotes to make it looks like Eilish is feuding with “driver’s license” singer Olivia Rodrigo.
One post with a fake article ended up being retweeted 12,000 times. That tweet included Eilish claiming she longs to be poor.
“When I got rich, I started balling my eyes out,” the fake piece says. “I wanted to be poor so I can relate to most of my fans. I still want to be broke and poor, it looks really fun and cute.”
Finneas Slams Account
As the troll account started to gain traction, Finneas asked that people report and block it to minimize the spread of its “relentless lies.”
On Tuesday, he responded to a fan that tagged him in the @BilliesUpdatess tweet alleging his sister wanted to be poor.
“Fake obviously,” Finneas wrote. “Honestly I just wish they’d label this account satire like the onion or something. I have no problem with a joke as long as people know it’s a joke.”
The account made several jokes about the fact that Finneas was calling it out, but it seems Eilish’s big brother got what he asked for. @BilliesUpdatess added “parody account” to its bio and the account was deleted as of Wednesday afternoon.