Madonna faces another lawsuit over late starts on Celebration tour

Fans in Brooklyn have accused ‘Like a Prayer’ singer and Live Nation of ‘false advertising’

Ellie Muir
Tuesday 23 April 2024 11:17 BST
Madonna shares video of Celebration tour opening night

Madonna is being sued again over late starts to her live shows on her Celebration tour.

Concertgoers in Washington DC accused the Queen of Pop of showing “total disrespect for her fans” by arriving on stage two hours late. The lawsuit comes just weeks after Madonna filed a motion to dismiss a similar case concerning tour dates in Brooklyn, New York.

The second lawsuit was filed in DC federal court last Friday (April 19), according to Billboard. Three fans claim that the singer broke the law by arriving on stage two hours late at two performance dates at the Capital One Arena in December 2023.

Complainants accused Madonna and entertainment giant Live Nation of exercising “false advertising” by listing the time on the ticket as 8.30pm, when the singer reportedly arrived on stage at approximately 10.40pm instead.

Lawyers for the fans wrote: “Forcing consumers to wait hours for her performance in a hot, uncomfortable arena is demonstrative of Madonna’s arrogant and total disrespect for her fans.

“In essence, Madonna and Live Nation are a consumer’s worst nightmare.”

They added: “This complaint is not about unhappy fans who don’t want to stay up late, but instead, reasonable, responsible people who had commitments to babysitters, work, getting their vehicles out of parking lots that closed at 12.00 midnight, and realising that public transportation would no longer be operating.”

According to the filing, when the “Like A Prayer” singer arrived on stage, she told those in attendance: “I am sorry I am late… no, I am not sorry, it’s who I am… I’m always late.”

Fans claimed singer arrived on stage two hours and 10 minutes later than ticketed time
Fans claimed singer arrived on stage two hours and 10 minutes later than ticketed time (Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS)

The Independent has contacted Madonna’s representatives for comment.

It comes weeks after Madonna filed a motion to dismiss a similar lawsuit, which fans in Brooklyn filed against Madonna and Live Nation in January for a show on 13 December where she reportedly arrived on stage two hours later than expected.

According to court filings, Madonna’s lawyers called to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the fans’ claim of having to “get up early to go to work” after the concert ended at 1am was not an “injury” worth damages.

Lawyers also argued that a fan wouldn’t expect Madonna to appear on stage for her Celebration tour at the time printed on the ticket as she had “years-long history” or “arriving several hours late to prior concerts”.

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They also pointed out that “nowhere” on the ticket did it advertise that Madonna would start the show at 8.30pm and no reasonable concertgoer could expect the headline act to take the stage at the ticketed time.

“Rather, a reasonable concertgoer would understand that the venue’s doors will open at or before the ticketed time, one or more opening acts may perform while attendees arrive and make their way to their seats and before the headline act takes the stage, and the headline act will take the stage later in the evening,” they argued.

The fans claimed they would not have paid for tickets had they known what time Madonna would arrive on stage.

Madonna performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019
Madonna performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 (Getty Images)

They argued that the delay, which they alleged happened again at the singer’s subsequent shows in Brooklyn on 14 December and 16 December, was a “wanton exercise in false advertising, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and deceptive trade practices”.

They claimed the show ended at 1am, leaving them with “limited public transportation, limited ridesharing, and/or increased public and private transportation costs”. Some were left “stranded in the middle of the night”, they said.

Throughout her Celebration tour, Madonna has given fans an autobiographical insight into her life and career, detailing her sexual awakening, her punk roots, her experiences before becoming famous, and her friendship with Michael Jackson.

In The Independent’s five-star review of the tour, critic Helen Brown writes that the tour is a reminder of why the “Queen of Pop still reigns”.

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