Lawmakers Mum As Ticketmaster Doles Out Tickets For Farrakhan Hate Rally

Ticketmaster makes money off event where Farrakhan assailed 'stranglehold that Jews have on this government'

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan / Getty Images
March 2, 2023

The ticketing giant hated by Taylor Swift fans and everyone else who has ever tried to buy concert tickets is now under fire from Jewish activists for selling tickets to a Louis Farrakhan event in which the minister defended Adolf Hitler and predicted another Holocaust against Jews. But many of Ticketmaster's biggest critics on Capitol Hill don't seem to care.

Ticketmaster, which charges service fees on each ticket it sells, raked in money selling tickets to Farrakhan's annual Saviours' Day conference in Chicago last weekend. During his speech at the event, 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."

The event was met with crickets on Capitol Hill, with almost no one in Congress speaking out against Ticketmaster for making money off of the Farrakhan event. The reaction is a stark contrast to lawmakers' response when Ticketmaster bungled sales last year for Taylor Swift's much-anticipated concert tour. That fiasco was in the news cycle for weeks and led to a Department of Justice investigation as well as a Senate hearing. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say Ticketmaster and its parent company, LiveNation, have a monopoly over the ticket industry, leading to price-gouging and a failure to crack down on automated scalping.

"Daily reminder that Ticketmaster is a monopoly, it’s merger with LiveNation should never have been approved, and they need to be reigned in [sic]," wrote Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) in a Twitter post in November. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) called on the Department of Justice to investigate. None of their offices responded to a request for comment on Ticketmaster's Farrakhan sales.

Only Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.)—who also spoke out about the Taylor Swift debacle—weighed in on the Farrakhan controversy when contacted by the Washington 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 sent a  comment after this story was published.

"Anti-Semitism has no place in America," said McMorris Rodgers. "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."

Entertainment industry leaders and Jewish groups had urged Ticketmaster to drop the Farrakhan event from its sales platform, but Ticketmaster did not waver. The Anti-Defamation League also sent a letter to Ticketmaster on Friday to "note that the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviors’ Day event regularly serves as a platform to amplify this hate and bigotry." The group said it was not calling on the company to halt ticket sales.

The event came as anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States. Hate crimes against Jews have surged in major cities, while celebrities like Kanye West and Kyrie Irving have promoted anti-Jewish conspiracy theories on social media. Farrakhan during his speech praised West as a "very great brother" and "genius."

"Ye broke into the fashion industry, that’s controlled by Jews," said Farrakhan. "Don’t be mad with them. They’re in every avenue that leads to power."

"Somebody has to take on the synagogue of Satan, and here we are," he said. "We cannot let them take the country."

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.

Farrakhan also defended the Nazis by citing an argument he supposedly heard from a Jewish rabbi on TV.

"Usury is what has made [the Jews] strong. I heard a Jewish rabbi, maybe about six weeks ago, he came on television talking about Adolf Hitler," said Farrakhan. "And he said Hitler was right. He said Hitler went against usury and Hitler attacked pornography that the Jews had put on the Germans."

Farrakhan and his group, the Nation of Islam, promote numerous conspiracy theories about Jews, including that Jews control the government, the media, and global financial institutions.

Last week, a group of entertainment industry leaders sent a letter to Ticketmaster CEO Michael Rapino calling on the company to drop the sales of the Farrakhan event and citing the preacher’s long history of anti-Semitism.

"Providing support of any kind to this sort of hatred is not just unacceptable, but dangerous," said the letter.

Update 2:50 p.m.: This post has been updated with comment from Rep. McMorris Rodgers