According to Amplify, lawyers for Ozzy Osbourne have responded to AEG's motion to dismiss his anti-trust claims, calling it "baseless on the facts and the law alike." The BLACK SABBATH singer has alleged that AEG is using a practice called "block-booking" to force him to perform at the Staples Center in Los Angeles against his wishes.
Ozzy had tentatively agreed to perform at London's O2 Arena on February 11, 2019 as part of his "No More Tours 2" farewell run, but he claims that AEG added a provision stating that if Osbourne played an indoor arena within 25 miles of Los Angeles that was promoted by competitor Live Nation during the tour, he would have to play the AEG-owned Staples Center as well.
Osbourne's attorney Daniel Wall with Latham Watkins accused AEG of being a "monopolist" and trying to force Ozzy to play AEG's venue in Los Angeles in exchange for a London date at the arena.
In its motion to dismiss the lawsuit from Osbourne, AEG said that Osbourne cannot claim anti-trust injury since the policy ties the promoter to the agreement, not the artist.
Wall has since submitted a rebuttal to the motion to dismiss, writing that AEG is misleading the court and is fully aware that the policy forces artists to play their venue in Los Angeles, sometimes against their will.
"Factually, AEG misrepresents its own practices with respect to the tying requirement it enforces," Wall's rebuttal reads. "The formal venue hire agreement for the O2 referenced in the Staples Center Commitment unambiguously requires the promoter to ensure that the artist plays Staples when in Los Angeles."
AEG previously told Billboard in a statement that the company "has always worked hard to put artists first. At the same time, we must respond to the actions of those we compete with, specifically Live Nation and Madison Square Garden. Fighting for a level playing field is fair competition at its core."
Osbourne wants a judge to invalidate the provision in his contract that forces him to perform at Staples.
Variety reported that AEG's O2/Staples requirement came about in response to a challenge from MSG that found the company refusing to book acts into Madison Square Garden if they played at AEG's Staples Center in Los Angeles instead of the MSG-operated Forum. In response, AEG informed agents and promoters that acts who perform at The Forum instead of Staples will not be booked at London's O2 Arena.
Ozzy's final world tour is slated to last until 2020.