Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BTO sues no show British icon Seal

BY MOSIDI MOKAEYA

The Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) is suing acclaimed black British singer and song writer Seal for no show.

While details of the case are sketchy, the BTO under Gillian Blackbeard flighted an advertisement on social media that failed to acknowledge Henry Olusegun Adeola Samuel popularly and globally known as Seal as an international icon and lumped him with local supporting acts.  This irked the international star.

Now the government is seeking a refund for breach of contract they are not at liberty to disclose.

The acting spokesperson at the BTO Samuel Lephalo said the organisation took the decision to demand the millions they paid to the British artist.

The artist had promised to perform at the University of Botswana early last year but dropped BTO at the last minute due to an advert gone wrong which was subsequently removed.

He was billed to headline at the ‘Of Baskets and Song’ extravaganza on March 10 2018. In anticipation of his arrival, BTO reportedly paid Seal over P3 million to come and serenade the nation. Instead he pocketed the money and cancelled the show.

Seal reportedly did not like the manner in which his show was advertised. By right a headliner of a show is supposed to be the most visible in all the adverts building up to the concert. On the contrary BTO allegedly posted an advert on social media at the time promoting the show with a small image of him.

Apparently Seal was not happy that his name and photo were not larger than the other performers. BTO moved swiftly to delete the advert and sent in a new one to Seal’s promoters Complex Entertainment for approval. Unfortunately it was too late for BTO as Seal then cancelled the trip but continued to smile to the bank.

Lephalo said in an interview, “I can confirm that the BTO has instituted legal proceedings against Complex Entertainment and Seal. This is due to a contract that was signed between Complex Entertainment and BTO to procure performance from Seal. BTO is however currently unable to divulge further information as the matter is already before the courts.”

They paid Seal and his management P3.2 million. At the time local media reported that one of the things that BTO did wrong was to advertise the event before they were given the green light as per the contract.

According to the reports it was a directive from the then marketing manager Gillian Blackbeard’s office. 

“The initial budget for the show which was critically tipped to disrupt the Hamptons Jazz Festival, scheduled for March 24 ÔÇô had tallied up to P9 million,” reads one of the articles.

Although Seal’s performance was set celebrate BTO’s 10th anniversary, it was also reported at the time that the event was BTO’s way of celebrating the then outgoing President Ian Khama’s tenure.

It was further reported that BTO was looking to replace Seal with Boyz II Men, a deal which never saw the light of day. It is now left to the courts to decide whether Seal will be paying back the money already paid to him or not.

Seal, is a British singer and songwriter who has sold over 20 million records worldwide, his first international hit being the song Crazy, released in 1991 and his most celebrated song being Kiss from a Rose, released in 1994.

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.