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Cancel Culture

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Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

The COVID-19 pandemic did not discriminate its victims. A fact the U.S. Congress took to heart when they established the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which aimed to provide fast and direct economic assistance for every American. Congress worked hard to ensure that no one was left to wither the pandemic unaided. Workers received extra Unemployment benefits. Small businesses applied for Paycheck Protection Programs. Industries were eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans. Even the entertainers were protected under the little-known Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG).  Well, little known for the fans who worshiped the rock stars. But rest assured, the celebrities certainly knew about SVOG.

A venue is a place where something happens, especially an organized event such as a concert, conference, or sports event. SVOG provided about $16 billion in emergency assistance for eligible performing arts businesses affected by COVID-19. While the grants were probably established with the smaller entertainer in mind, dozens of companies controlled by high-profile musicians took advantage of the SVOG. The U.S. government doled out over $200 million of pandemic relief funds that benefitted famous musicians such as Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, and Nickelback. A corporation controlled by Post Malone, for example, received a $10 million SVOG grant in 2021. However, between June 2019 and June 2020 Post Malone earned $60 million from his various endeavors. That was enough to make him one of the highest-paid rappers in the world. A solid chunk of his earnings came from touring. Did he really need a bail out? Did anyone ask how he spent it?

Insider offered no details about how any grant money was spent. And no one seems to be asking. It’s possible that it could have gone toward production expenses, to contractors or simply to the artists themselves. Insider says it contacted all the artists named in its report to ask how they spent their grants. None of them shared detailed information, and most did not respond. Probably because they are all one step away from being the brunt of cancel culture. Which is what could happen when the fans learn how much their favorite rock stars made without singing a note.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “The US government doled out over $200M of pandemic relief that helped famous musicians such as Post Malone, Lil Wayne, and Nickelback, report says. How COVID aid has potentially been wasted” published by Moneywise on September 4, 2023

The U.S. government doled out over $200 million of pandemic relief funds that benefitted famous musicians such as Post Malone, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown and Nickelback, according to a report by Insider.

Here’s how it happened: The Small Business Administration created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), which was designed to give grants to venues affected by COVID-19 lockdowns. Eligible applicants could receive a grant of up to $10 million from the SVOG, no repayment required. Insider reports a number of grants also ended up in the hands of touring companies.

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