The organisers of Azealia Banks‘ recent Australian tour – which was marked by shows being cancelled at the last minute and the US rapper disparaging Australia’s “weak ass currency” – have responded to her claims they orchestrated a “scam”.
Earlier today (December 20), Banks shared a series of Instagram stories in which she made the claims, reiterating her previous assertion that the tour will be her last time performing in Australia. “The entire run was a setup scam between [promoters] Bizarro and Point Blank Productions,” Banks wrote.
“Both promoters got paid off of my hard work and are now trying to cite all these stupid things as reasons not to pay me a dime. I flew all the way across the world to go home empty handed.”
Banks then warned other artists to ignore requests from Bizarro or Point Blank. “There will be impossible slave like structure[s] to the contract at which point they will use any and every point to not pay you,” she alleged. Banks called the team at Bizarro “literal 21 year old coke heads”.
Both Bizarro and Point Productions (which is under the parent company Point Blank Group) have since responded. In a lengthy statement from Bizarro issued today and obtained by NME, the company said the last fortnight had been “by far the most physically and mentally draining experience in this industry for us”.
“Bizarro’s involvement in this tour was exclusively to present Azealia’s two primary shows – Sydney and Melbourne. This deal was made with Point Blank Group, the touring agency bringing Azealia out from the USA, and finalised in May 2022.
“It should be noted that half of Azealia’s double offer fee was paid to her agent in May 2022. A couple of months before the tour, Azealia posted to Instagram stating the Australian tour was cancelled. This was quickly reversed, however she had already generated doubt in her Australian fan base.”
Bizarro said things “began to fall apart” when Banks’ visa request, filed by Point Blank Group, had been pushed back on by immigration two weeks prior to the tour’s commencement. “Further documentation including a character reference as well as police reports were apparently requested due to a legal matter involving Azealia a number of years ago.”
The visa remained unapproved 24 hours before the tour’s scheduled Melbourne show at Festival Hall on December 10, while Banks was stuck in New Zealand after having performed there. “On the morning of the show we did everything we could to aid the application process so that she would make her flight from Auckland to Melbourne with an approved visa,” Bizarro said.
The visa was finally approved 20 minutes after “the last feasible flight from Auckland to Melbourne” had left. Bizarro said that they sought other avenues to get Banks into the country such as private jets, but that it proved impossible. The show was cancelled hours before doors, with promoters incurring the full venue cancellation fee as a result.
At the time the show’s cancellation was announced, promoters said a rescheduled event would be announced, something Banks swiftly denied. According to Bizarro, they were informed the following day (December 11) that Banks was willing to do a rescheduled show after all the following weekend – this ended up taking place at the Timber Yard on Sunday night (December 18).
Bizarro added that they spent much of December 11– the day of Banks’ Sydney show at the Enmore Theatre – “ensuring Azealia was kept happy for her performance”. They said Banks arrived at the venue 30 minutes after she was scheduled to start her performance, despite being warned this could result in a shortened performance time. “We are beyond grateful to the management of the venue for their flexibility and assistance with this issue.”
Bizarro met with Banks and her team the following day to discuss her rescheduled Melbourne show, where the rapper “expressed gratitude for putting on the Sydney show, and told us how we should all work together to deliver a Melbourne performance the following weekend” of the same standard.
“Numerous promises were made by Azealia and her team, including the use of social media to create positivity and excitement for a show that she previously claimed wouldn’t be rescheduled, and the aid of merchandise sales to help recover from the losses incurred thus far.”
According to Bizarro, Banks said she “loved being here” and planned to return next year. The next day (December 13), Banks’ planned show at the Tivoli in Brisbane was cancelled, also just prior to doors. Taking to Instagram, the rapper blamed promoters once again, saying it would be her last time touring Australia as the country “makes me utterly miserable”.
“We were blown away, knowing full well that our ticket holders would be doubtful of a performance in Melbourne,” Bizarro’s statement continued. “With the previous day’s conversations fresh in our mind, we couldn’t believe how quickly her perspective had changed.”
Bizarro said they spent the following week “tirelessly pulling together” the replacement Melbourne show, feeling that they “owed it to our supporters… despite the fact we were going against a rapidly crumbling sense of positivity for the show, reflected in a rapid increase in demands for refunds”. They added that payment was made to Banks’ touring agent.
“Throughout this process we weren’t given any help whatsoever from Azealia or her team, being told directly by Azealia that it was our job to convince people she would perform despite our conversation just days earlier.”
Banks performed for the Poof Doof club night at the Ivy in Sydney on Saturday (December 17), and according to Bizarro, missed her flight to Melbourne the following morning, arriving four hours later than planned.
“Our team worked tirelessly to ensure she would play a full set length, such as moving her set time half an hour earlier, assuming she would be late. We had a van waiting outside of her hotel to take her to the venue at the agreed time of 8:30PM, she did not leave her hotel room until 10PM, arriving at the venue well beyond what would be considered reasonable.
“We told her tour manager countless times that there was a strict curfew at the venue which had no flexibility. Unsurprisingly, she had no respect for this condition, brought a private team and payment gateway to sell her merchandise without us approving it, and performed well under the expected set length.”
Following the Timber Yard show, Banks had a show booked at Chasers in Prahran, also for Poof Doof. According to Bizarro, she arrived more than two hours late for the show and refused to get on stage unless she was paid additional cash by the promoter.
“We were advised by a former member of Azealia’s team yesterday that we would be wise to get a statement out as Azealia was likely to post slanderous and defamatory content very soon,” Bizarro’s statement continues.
“Little did we know she would be claiming we had been paid off her hard work, despite losing tens of thousands of dollars due to her cancelled show and willingness to destroy the hope of a successful replacement show. She has claimed to have not been paid a dime, despite the fact her generous artist fees have been paid by us in full.
“Whilst we have paid our fees to Azealia’s touring agent, we have also been led to believe that the majority of her tour has been paid to her personally in full, despite her willingness to burn down every show of the run. Her slanderous claims made against us personally as individuals and scammers are entirely false. Whilst we don’t generally expect contracted artists to assist us in promoting their shows, we certainly haven’t ever had an artist actively work against us like this.
“We were not naive to Azealia’s reputation, but we were excited by her as an artist and felt confident that these were over sensationalised by the media and that she meant well. The lack of care she shows to her team, the people she works with, and her fans was truly disappointing to see.
“She was not present for any press opportunities, she failed to arrive at any event in a timely manner, she willingly posted inaccurate, disrespectful and slanderous content online, and her lack of care and appreciation for her fans, who make such an event possible, was disgraceful.”
Read the statement from Bizarro below, which was shared first by News.com.au entertainment editor Nick Bonds:
Statement from Azealia Banks’ Australian tour promoter… that Enmore show was a miracle, hey pic.twitter.com/pHkhQxBmhq
— Nick Bond (@bondnickbond) December 20, 2022
After NME reached out to Point Productions, the company also offered a statement in which they strongly denied Banks’ claims against them.
“Point Productions is aware of recent disparaging comments by Ms Banks about us, and about her experience during her tour of Australia. Her allegations against us are untrue and we disagree with her comments,” the statement reads.
“We deliver the highest standard of excellence to all of our talent. Ms Banks was no exception. We can confidently say that we did everything possible to meet Ms Banks’ expectations, and to create an accommodating and safe experience for her, her fans and everyone involved at the shows and on tour.”
Banks has since responded to the Bizarro statement in a series of Instagram Stories on the same account, dismissing it as “garbage”, saying “I don’t even know what half the shit in that fucking statement is” and telling the promoters to “get a fucking life” and “get off my dick”.
“I’m really laughing at the way these n****s tried to write a sophisticated narrative about how they fucking broke,” she said in one of several videos posted to her Instagram Stories (but with a black screen).
And in another video, where she appeared on camera, Banks called the statement “an attempt to assassinate my character” and raised again the question of the payment she says she’s owed. “Where the cash at?” she asked.
Prior to this tour, Banks last performed in Australia in 2015, when she described her appearance at that year’s Splendour in the Grass festival as a “waste of [her] fucking time”, and lambasted “terrible” crowds in the country for being “violent and belligerent”.