The Fox Theater in Atlanta is a storied institution, and Delta has supported it for over 20 years — until now. The non-profit theater, which rents out space for private functions, allowed Qatar Airways to rent space — and didn’t call to ask Delta’s permission first.
Originally planned as the headquarters for the Shriners organization, movie mogul William Fox leased the building and it opened it as the Fox Theater two months after the stock market crash of 1929. In the 1940s it was the only theater in Atlanta serving both white and African American patrons (although they were kept segregated inside). Prince gave his final performance here, a week before his death in April.
The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of an effort to stop Southern Bell’s 1974 plan to tear it down to use the land as a parking lot (for real). The theater was eventually restored to its original form, with additions from its original plan that were cut due to financial constraints in 1929 added on.
Stock photo copyright: f11photo
The non-profit theater hosts cultural events, films, and ballet. And its Egyptian Ballroom and Grand Salon are rented out for private functions. Qatar rented the space for a concert with J.Lo and so Delta is pulling its support.
Delta Air Lines will not renew its sponsorship of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, due to a foreign rival airline’s event Tuesday night at the venue featuring a private concert by Jennifer Lopez.
It’s not JLo that prompted the move by Delta. The issue is that the event Tuesday night is hosted by Delta nemesis Qatar Airways.
…Delta, a sponsor of the Fox for more than 20 years, said it will not renew its sponsorship of the storied Atlanta theater after their contract expires May 31, 2017.
Delta’s chief legal officer Peter Carter says the reason is Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said he’s launching Atlanta service “to rub salt in the wounds of Delta,”
So we were very surprised and disappointed when we learned that the Fox Theatre — an organization that we’ve supported for years, an organization that has called us its official airline — we were shocked and surprised when we learned that they were hosting the coming out party for Qatar.
To be clear, this non-profit theater rents out its space for private functions. And Qatar rented the space. So Delta is pulling its support of the Atlanta landmark after 20 years — because they felt Qatar’s CEO was rude to them after Delta’s then-CEO last year blamed their rival airline for 9/11.
Qatar of course is merely a company renting function space at the venue. So just how petty is Delta being about this? They’re miffed because the non-profit they support didn’t call them in advance about the group that would be renting space in the theater for an event.
We felt that, you know, a real friend would have contacted us and had a conversation with us, and so we thought it was time for us to re-evaluate that relationship. And so we won’t be supporting the Fox going forward,” Carter said. “We valued the relationship, which is why we were disappointed that we didn’t get a phone call, because I think a phone call would have probably prevented the whole thing.
My first thought was, “seriously, are these people 12 years old?” Apparently I’m not the only one. Comments over at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution include,
Mr. Carter, please tell me that you are over 13. This makes you sound like a spoiled brat on a playground in a “I’m taking my ball and going home” moment.
Okay, someone check on the Delta execs. Toddlers have taken them hostage and are running the company.
Just because Delta execs are fixated on the Qatar, doesn’t mean the rest of us are. Chances are no one on the events staff at the Fox even thought about this as an issue. ..The Fox should have let Delta know because… Do they let them know about every private event?
(HT: Rene’s Points)