When it comes to free speech and honoring first responders, Tucker Carlson thought he had found a welcoming platform. His scheduled speaking engagement at the fourth annual “America Safety First” event on September 10 seemed to be going smoothly — until it didn’t.
The event was initially slated to be held at the Freedom Hill Amphitheater in Sterling Heights, Michigan. According to event organizers, Live Nation Entertainment, the venue’s new corporate owner, gave them the green light. A $100,000 non-refundable deposit was paid, and county parking was secured. “People have a right to be heard and to attend to educate themselves,” emphasized event co-chair Kevin Rinke. Yet, despite final confirmations and weeks of planning, Live Nation allegedly revoked their agreement.
This is what the left does when we try to unite. Can't shut us down through government, for now, so they use other pressures – ESG metrics, harassment, 'cancellation'. Experienced it myself just this year. What are they afraid of? https://t.co/gGxSGxJG6R
— Carolyn Phippen (@carolyn_phippen) September 1, 2023
Why the sudden change of heart? Live Nation remains tight-lipped. The company has yet to respond to multiple media inquiries. However, their controversial decision puts them in hot water with conservatives who view this as another example of cancel culture infiltrating American institutions.
The organizers are now considering taking legal action. Eric Castiglia, the chairman of the Brighter Michigan PAC, the event’s sponsor, pointed out the alarming implications. “The biggest message we can send in Michigan is we’re not going to stand for those types of actions. Both sides of the aisle deserve a right to express themselves,” he said.
The venue change has had real-world repercussions for the event organizers. They lost four weeks of ticket sales and the option of a covered venue to protect attendees from potential rain. Financially, this is no minor setback. “Live Nation absolutely knew that we gave a deposit, absolutely told us the date was okay,” stated Rinke, highlighting how Live Nation seemed to backtrack on an agreement that cost the organizers time and money.
But there’s a broader issue here. Live Nation Entertainment dominates the U.S. ticketing and live event venues market, controlling an estimated 70% of it. Such a monopolistic grip on the industry places enormous power in their hands, determining who gets a platform and who doesn’t. The fact that Live Nation may have been willing to leverage this power in a way that obstructs a planned, paid-for event is unsettling for the advocates of free speech.
In this case, Tucker Carlson and the event organizers have scrambled to find an alternative venue, Jimmy John’s Field in Utica, Michigan. So, while the event honoring first responders will proceed, the cautionary tale it leaves behind serves as a reminder. When corporations can silence voices and limit choices, it’s not just conservatives who lose — the fundamental American value of free speech takes a hit.