Activist compensated in gig discrimination case
A disabled Italian concertgoer has been awarded compensation after taking legal action against a venue and promoter for discriminatory conduct.
Activist Valentina Tomirotti, who suffers from diastrophic dysplasia, attended a concert by singer Coez at Verona Arena in September 2019 in her wheelchair, but was unable to see any of the show when people stood up around her.
“I was in the audience with a companion, without protection,” she tells Corriere della Sera. “At the arena, seats for the disabled are at the beginning and end of each row of chairs in the stalls. As soon as the music started, people stood up. I complained to the security people because it was dangerous for a person in a wheelchair and I couldn’t see anything.
“It was an indie music concert and obviously people were dancing. I stayed until the end but I really didn’t see the concert.”
The organisers must find suitable solutions, the disabled must not be discriminated against
Tomirotti sued the venue, the Arena Foundation and promoter Vivo Concerti, but lost the case in 2020 and was ordered to pay court costs after a judge affirmed there were giant screens at the venue and argued it was not mandatory to see concerts, since music is listened to. Tomirotti appealed the ruling with the assistance of human rights and civil liberties organisation, the Luca Coscioni Association.
In the meantime, a similar lawsuit was filed by Paralympic athlete Sofia Righetti, who had experienced the same issue when attending an Evanescence show at the venue a few weeks earlier. She was awarded €3,500 in damages in March this year.
Tomirotti has now reached a similar settlement in her civil case, and will receive €3,000 compensation from the defendants as part of the agreement. The venue must also install two wheelchair platforms inside the arena by 31 December.
“I filed an appeal with the Court of Brescia and, thanks to Sofia Righetti’s precedent, we reached an agreement,” she says. “Now the platform must be built… The organisers must find suitable solutions, the disabled must not be discriminated against.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.