Earlier this month, the legal battle between Ozzy Osbourne and AEG officially ended when the singer’s attorney agreed to drop a lawsuit against the live-entertainment giant stemming from its block-booking policy, which the company recently discontinued.
The policy required artists playing the London’s O2 Arena to also perform at Staples Center in Los Angeles, both of which AEG controls; the lawsuit, which was dismissed with prejudice, was in many ways a side-battle in the long-running turf war between AEG and Azoff-MSG, which owns the Forum, Staples’ main competitor in the Los Angeles area. AEG chief Jay Marciano claimed that the policy, which began in July of 2017, was implemented in response to a similar policy connection involving Madison Square Garden and the Forum; Irving Azoff said that such a policy was not in place at his company’s venues; legal wrangling and aggressively worded statements to the press ensued.
After telling Variety days earlier that the end of the block-booking requirement meant “there is no further need for litigation,” Osbourne’s attorney, Dan Wall, quietly filed paperwork to drop the lawsuit on Friday. That move elicited a response on Saturday from an unnamed AEG spokesperson that cast the situation as a victory for the Philip Anschutz-owned company and alleged that Osbourne’s lawsuit was “instigated by Azoff and paid for by MSG and [Osbourne tour promoter] Live Nation.”
While neither Wall, Osbourne, Azoff nor Live Nation initially responded to AEG’s statement, Osbourne manager Sharon Osbourne let loose on Tuesday. Her statement follows in full; AEG’s statement from Saturday follows in full below it.
Sharon Osbourne’s statement:
“We know Mr. Anshultz [sic] (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 BULLSH– and your little pissing contest with Live Nation and MSG.
“Regarding the allegations in the AEG statement that this ‘suit was a transparent public relations ploy,’ if that was indeed the case, why then did AEG rush out a statement of victory? While we, throughout this process, until now have only made one statement around the initial filing.
“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.
“The only thing remotely interesting in your statement was your pitiful attempt at humor with your quote that Ozzy ‘had no idea what he was biting off.’ If you’re interested, Ozzy and I have got something nice for you bite on…our a–holes…see ya loser!”
Sept. 22 statement from AEG regarding dismissal of the class action lawsuit filed by Osbourne against AEG:
“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.”