Super Bowl party organisers slammed for unsafe gigs
Rapper 50 Cent and DJ Steve Aoki both performed at Super Bowl parties during the weekend where there were no masks or social distancing.
The ‘In Da Club’ rapper celebrated the annual championship game of the NFL (National Football League) with a performance in an airport hangar in St Petersburg, Florida, with a crowd of maskless fans who had paid between $85 and $7,000, according to TMZ.
The concert was slammed by St Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, who tweeted: “This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”
Aoki, meanwhile, played a gig at WTR Tampa Pool inside the Godfrey Waterfront Hotel, at which he shared a bottle of champagne with a few fans in the huge, maskless crowd.
The Tampa Police Department said: “Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing. The city spent the better part of a year educating residents on precautions due to the pandemic and have recently put a mask order in place for both the entertainment and event zones to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to our great city.
“We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent”
“When the governor lifted the capacity restrictions and opened bars, we turned to the tight-knit hospitality community to reopen safe and sound but there’s a level of personal responsibility that must be followed or risk getting shut down.”
The event organiser, Michael Piper, says the concert was in a 40,000 square-foot outdoor space with sanitation stations throughout and Covid-symptom detectors at the entrance – adding, “It’s the best we can do”.
“I’m not sure what else [we could do],” said Piper. “We expanded the area. We encourage masks. We clean. We put up the machines that can help identify someone who maybe didn’t know they had it.”
Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, had urged Americans to watch the Super Bowl within their immediate households due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying large events could become “mini super spreader” events.
Around 25,000 people were in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl 2021.
FL rep demands axing of Lorde shows amid Israel row
Randy Fine, a state representative in Florida, has demanded venues in Tampa and Miami cancel their upcoming Lorde shows in order to comply with the state’s anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) legislation.
Lorde’s Melodrama world tour is due to visit Amalie Arena (21,500-cap.) on 11 April and American Airlines Arena (20,021-cap.) on 12 April. However, both venues are publicly owned – the former by Hillsborough County and the latter by Miami-Dade County – and, under a law introduced in February 2016, no Florida state or local government is permitted to conduct business exceeding US$1 million with any organisation engaged in a boycott of Israel.
New Zealand singer Lorde in December cancelled a planned show in Tel Aviv under pressure from the anti-Israel BDS movement, which campaigns against what it calls Israeli “oppression” of Palestinian Arabs.
“Florida has no tolerance for antisemitism and boycotts intended to destroy the state of Israel,” says Fine (pictured). “That’s why Florida passed groundbreaking anti-BDS legislation several years ago and why, along with senator Jeff Brandes, I have proposed strengthening that legislation this year. Current statutes are clear: local governments cannot do business with companies that participate in antisemitic boycotts of Israel.
“The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and antisemitism”
“When Lorde joined the boycott in December, she and her companies became subject to that statute.
“The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and antisemitism, and I look forward to [venue owners] the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority complying with the law and cancelling these concerts.”
Tampa Sports Authority and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority declined to comment.
Randy Fine is the state representative from Florida’s district 53, centred on Brevard County.