I saw a headline last night via The Washington Examiner that “Lady Gaga turned down $1 million to perform at RNC” and I was a bit confused for a few reasons.
I’m really shocked that anyone would think that Gaga, a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, would play at an event at the GOP convention for any price. It would appear the attempts to book Gaga and other acts was an attempt at minority/women outreach.
American Action Network (AAN) is the group that wanted to book Gaga at the RNC in Tampa last year. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman heads that group. Their financial data can be found here. According to the Examiner article, AAN is suing Cater America LLC, a Wyoming company headed by Rob Jennings.*
AAN hired Cater America as vendor responsible for booking concerts adjacent to the convention. Others who turned them down included Dolly Parton and Pitbull. Concerts that took place at Liberty Plaza outside the convention included Kid Rock, Trace Adkins, and Journey. A scheduled Lynyrd Skynyrd concert was cancelled.
More on the suit from the article:
American Action Network is a 501c(4) organization headed by former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and raises money to support GOP candidates for House seats. The organization is suing Cater America in an effort to recover $350,000 that AAN officials say they lost in part when a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert arranged by Cater America was canceled. The concert could not take place because Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Isaac churned toward Tampa.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, AAN says most of the money it seeks represents a loan that Jennings has failed to repay.
Jennings later booked Lynyrd Skynyrd for a concert for 1,000 troops on January 19 at the Warner Theater in D.C. that benefited Citizens Helping Heroes.
According to the article, Cater America plans a countersuit for $500,000 for expenses that included Journey’s performance. Additionally, Cater America is alleging that AAN officials including President Brian Walsh and former development director Pete Meachum (now chief of staff for Rep. Sean Duffy) were giving away tickets to staffers of the National Republican Congressional Committee. This reportedly would put AAN’s non-profit status at risk, based on the doctrine of personal (or private) inurement.
Gaga would not have accepted the invite no matter how many elected women were being honored or how much money they offered for women’s shelters. Performing for an event at the GOP convention would have seriously damaged her brand and alienated her “little monsters” (her name for her fans – who are generally big supporters of gay rights/marriage)
Dolly Parton was a pretty big stretch for relevance before that and Pitbull is just a head-scratcher.
It would appear that some of the critics of DC insiders that have expressed their criticisms since the election may get some more ammo out of the Lady Gaga concert invitation.
More from AtlanticWire, which has the emails discussing Gaga:
Here’s a full list of those performers, and the offers AAN made to each of them (if known):
- Lady Gaga ($1,000,000)
- Pitbull ($250,000)
- Gloria Estefan ($750,000)
- Dolly Parton (Unknown, but supposedly required a jet to travel)
- Kelly Clarkson (Unknown)
- The Indigo Girls (Unknown)
- Melissa Etheridge (Unknown)
- Pedrito Martinez (“next to nothing”)
In the end, Kid Rock, Journey, Zac Brown Band, and Three Doors Down performed at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in August
* Full disclosure: I’ve known Rob Jennings since 1993 when I interned at Accuracy in Academia (part of Accuracy in Media) in DC. I attended the Lynyrd Skynyrd concernt in January.