SALT LAKE CITY — Qualtrics has sued the booking agency for The Killers, claiming the band won’t agree to cancel its show at the Utah tech giant’s postponed annual conference and wants to be paid.
The Provo-born experience management software company announced March 3 that it was rescheduling its annual X4 user summit, featuring Michelle Obama and expected to draw some 16,000 attendees, due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event was slated for March 10-13 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Qualtrics says the majority of participants and presenters booked for the summit supported its decision to postpone and are working with the company to reschedule. But it says Los Angeles-based SME Entertainment Group has refused to do so.
“SME and The Killers refused to cancel (or postpone) their performance and, instead, insist on full payment, claiming that there is no health risk sufficient to justify cancelation under the agreement,” according to lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Qualtrics contends it has the right to cancel the contract. Terms of the agreement were redacted from its court complaint.
In the lawsuit, Qualtrics characterized SME as contending that the COVID-19 pandemic does not pose sufficient health risks, and that airlines are still flying to Salt Lake City and that local hotels and airlines are “not accepting cancellations or providing refunds.”
Specifically, SME contends that “we are generally proceeding with our events unless they are specifically shut down by the authorities,” according to Qualtrics’ complaint.
SME books bands, celebrities, keynote speakers and athletes for a variety of events, including trade shows and conferences. Its website features dozens of major companies as clients.
SME did not return a message left for comment Friday.
Qualtrics made the decision to postpone the summit after considering information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Utah Department of Health, the World Health Organization and other experts on epidemiology and disease prevention, the lawsuit says.
In addition to The Killers, the company had booked some heavyweight speakers for the conference, including former first lady Michelle Obama, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres and Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey.
Qualtrics has not announced a new date for the event.