It’s never a good sign when a company has two widely publicized incidents on its hands. Live Nation discovered as much in the wake of Astroworld Festival with the attack on Drakeo The Ruler at Once Upon A Time In LA just a month later, and now, the security company that worked Astroworld is learning the same lesson. According to Buzzfeed News, Contemporary Services Corp. is one of North America’s largest event-security companies — and may face added scrutiny after the recent Netflix Is A Joke Fest show where Dave Chappelle was tackled by an armed man during his set.
Even worse, Buzzfeed’s report found that CSC’s practices may have opened the door for these failures. Due to hiring inexperienced staff as independent contractors, CSC shields itself from liability at the expense of the overall safety of events. One staffer told Buzzfeed, “We were told there was going to be a big crowd and to get them in as fast as possible. There were no details on what that meant and how to do it — just get them in as fast as possible.”
Incidentally, just before he was tackled by the 23-year-old Isaiah Lee, who had a concealed knife on him (in the shape of a gun), Chappelle joked about “increased threats against comedians” as an oblique reference to the Oscars, where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage. Chappelle had brought members of his own security onstage, and it was them who subdued Lee, although Chappelle later joked that he, Busta Rhymes, Jamie Foxx, and (lol) Jon Stewart had “stomped” Lee backstage.
Meanwhile, the venue, the world-famous Hollywood Bowl, is “reviewing its “existing procedures both internally and with the assistance of outside experts.” CSC, which also worked the Astroworld Festival and the Route 91 Harvest festival in 2017, is reportedly named in a number of lawsuits from event attendees and former staff, including those stemming from the Astrowold disaster. In 2020, CSC, along with MGM and Live Nation, settled a lawsuit with 4,400 people impacted by the mass shooting for $800 million.