Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) last fall trained their fire on Ticketmaster after bungled sales for Taylor Swift's concert tour led to price-gouging and automated scalping, calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the ticketing giant. But when the company doled out tickets to Louis Farrakhan's rally—in which the Nation of Islam leader defended Adolf Hitler and predicted another Holocaust against Jews—the Democratic duo had nothing to say.
Blumenthal went on a crusade against Ticketmaster in November, saying "consumers deserve better than this anti-hero behavior." Klobuchar said she had "serious concerns" about Ticketmaster's failure to get the so-called Swifties tickets efficiently and wrote to the company's chief executive officer demanding answers.
Neither Blumenthal, who has warned that the "horrors of the Holocaust" could happen again if Americans don't fight anti-Semitism, nor Klobuchar, who has pledged "to confront anti-Semitism," have criticized Ticketmaster for profiting off of the Farrakhan ticketing sales. The two senators, who sit on the Senate's Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, did not respond to requests for comment.
Farrakhan during his speech claimed that Jews control the levers of power in Washington, Hollywood, and global finance and are using these powers to corrupt the world. "Somebody has to take on the synagogue of Satan," he said. "We cannot let them take the country." Critics had urged Ticketmaster, which charges service fees on each ticket it sells, to drop the Farrakhan event from its sales platform, but the ticket giant did not budge.
Among House Democrats, there has also been silence from lawmakers who criticized Ticketmaster in the past. Last November, more than two dozen House Democrats sent a letter to Ticketmaster, saying it "strangled competition for ticketing in the live entertainment marketplace." The Washington Free Beacon reached out to 28 members who signed the letter and are still in Congress to get their thoughts on Ticketmaster’s decision to sell seats at the Farrakhan event. None of them responded.
Democrats who signed the letter included Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), and Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.).
Omar has a history of incendiary statements about Jews. She claimed in 2019 that U.S. support for Israel was "all about the Benjamins baby," suggesting that lawmakers were being bribed to back the Jewish state. That remark and others, in which she downplayed the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, led Republicans to remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee earlier this year.
Farrakhan defended Omar’s "Benjamins" comment, saying she had a "sweet heart" and was helping to "shake the government up, but you have nothing to apologize for."
Tlaib, one of the most vocal anti-Israel lawmakers in Congress, faced criticism from the Anti-Defamation League and members of her own party in September after she claimed that Americans "cannot claim to hold progressive values yet back Israel’s apartheid government."
Lee, who has attended an event with Farrakhan, denounced the preacher’s "anti-Semitic and hateful comments" amid public pressure in 2018.
During his speech last week, Farrakhan assailed the "stranglehold that Jews have on this government" and claimed "Jewish power is what has all of our people of knowledge and wisdom and talent afraid."
Farrakhan criticized Jews who use the phrase "Never Again" when discussing the Holocaust.
"You can say that to men, but you can’t say that to God. Because the Bible says, behold, the day cometh that shall burn—as a what?—as an oven. And those who do wickedly, He will slay them."
"God is not unjust; when he kills you, you know you deserved it," he added.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.)—who also spoke out about the Taylor Swift debacle—weighed in on the Farrakhan controversy when contacted by the Free Beacon.
"It is extremely concerning that Ticketmaster is choosing to use its platform to elevate and promote a well-known anti-Semite. The targeting of the Jewish people has gone on far too long and must stop," she said.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), a Ticketmaster critic who serves as the chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also said the company needs to be "completely transparent" about its decision to profit off anti-Semitism.
"Anti-Semitism has no place in America," McMorris Rodgers said. "Ticketmaster should be completely transparent on why it chose to profit off of Farrakhan's abhorrent history of hatred and violent threats of genocide against the Jewish people."