American entertainer Chris Brown was refused entry into Canada on Tuesday evening for being criminally inadmissible. His problems stem from two very famous assault convictions in 2009 and 2014. It has also been rumoured that he had also previously been denied entry into Canada on two prior occasions for the exact same reason.
Whatever your opinion of Chris Brown as a person or his music, there is no doubt that this refusal is expensive. As a result of cancelling sold out shows in Montreal and Toronto, concert promoter LiveNation is refunding the tens of thousands of tickets purchased. Along with lost ticket and merchandising revenue, there are also enormous sunk non-recoverable expenses. These include rental of two of Canada’s largest concert venues; marketing; cost of having the crew ship, set up and break down a very elaborate stage, sound and lighting system; hotels; administrative costs etc. etc. etc. This will easily cost millions and all because one single issue was not properly dealt with upfront.
Namely: ‘Getting the talent onto the stage’.
I was interviewed by Global News Toronto yesterday on this matter.
Given the amount of money at stake and the prior refusals, the most prudent way of proceeding would have been to seek a special permission from a Canadian visa office even prior to the scheduling of the concerts.
Although his management team did say on Twitter that they were “ready at their end”, at best this would appear to be saying that they were going to attempt to apply for this permission that day. Trying to make an application at a port of entry on the day of the concert was not particularly wise. Given Mr. Brown’s notoriety, nature of his offences and his very public continuing legal challenges, hoping to find a sympathetic ear with an official who would take the personal heat of granting this permission was pretty much doomed to failure. In this case, playing ‘Border Officer Roulette’ had the same nasty outcome as playing ‘Russian Roulette’.
Given the fact that he sold out two major shows, LiveNation may be willing to give it another go with Chris Brown. In a global market with international talent, this incident is a very expensive lesson that borders matter.
Let’s hope for their shareholder’s sake that they insist that some proper advice whenever the talent leaves their home country to do an event they are promoting.