December 13, 2018: Founder of Just For Laughs Charged With Rape and Assault, Around Two-Thirds of Marketers Will Increase Their Live Event Budget in 2019, Taylor Swift Used Facial Recognition Technology to Track Stalkers at Concert

By Ian Zelaya December 13, 2018, 8:56 AM EST

1. FOUNDER OF JUST FOR LAUGHS CHARGED WITH RAPE AND ASSAULT: Gilbert Rozon, the founder and former C.E.O. of the Just For Laughs comedy festival, has been charged with rape and indecent assault stemming from allegations in 1979. The Hollywood Reporter: “The criminal charges were unveiled Wednesday by Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions and follow a #MeToo scandal at the Montreal festival that is known for helping Los Angeles talent scouts find talent for Hollywood movies and U.S. network shows. According to the charges against Rozon, the offenses occurred between June and September 1979, in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. The veteran Canadian impresario is set to appear in court in January to answer the twin charges. In October 2017, Rozon announced he would sell his shares in Just for Laughs after being hit by allegations from 10 women that he sexually harassed or assaulted them. His exit was followed by Canadian media giant Bell Media, Montreal Canadiens owner Groupe CH, and ICM Partners and longtime client Howie Mandel banding together to acquire the Just for Laughs comedy group. In addition, a Quebec judge in May 2018 allowed 20 women to bring a class-action lawsuit against Rozon for alleged rape and sexual harassment committed between 1982 and 2016. The province's director of criminal prosecutions separately investigated complaints by 14 women against Rozon that also allegedly took place over two decades."

2. AROUND TWO-THIRDS OF MARKETERS WILL INCREASE THEIR LIVE EVENT BUDGET IN 2019: A new study by event management platform Bizzabo found that nearly two-thirds of marketers plan to increase spending on live events heading into the new year. Adweek: “Event management platform Bizzabo surveyed more than 1,000 brand marketers for its Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends Report, and it found that 41 percent of them considered event marketing to be their top marketing channel—up 32 percent year-over-year and ahead of content marketing (27 percent), email marketing (14 percent), and social media (6 percent). However, the event industry is not without its challenges, as Bizzabo co-founder Alon Alroy said, 'The event industry is growing, but the upshot is that it’s also becoming more crowded. To stand out, businesses need to be better organized, provide better attendee experiences and move the needle in ways that their competitors are not.' So the company surveyed marketers at companies including Amazon, General Mills, KPMG, AppNexus, Digiday, and Porsche to determine how they intend to approach live events in 2019 and beyond. Alroy cautioned against focusing on huge conferences, saying in an interview that his company helps manage anything from V.I.P. dinners for 50 people to confabs with 10,000 attendees. The company found that 62 percent of respondents plan to increase their budget for live events in 2019, by an average of 22 percent, adding that it saw a 39 percent rise in the number of organizations that planned to spend at least 20 percent of their marketing budgets on live events next year. ... As a result, Bizzabo found that 85 percent of respondents believe live events played a major role in their companies successfully meeting their business goals, and 77 percent believe events will be increasingly important to the success of their brands in the coming years."

3. TAYLOR SWIFT USED FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY TO TRACK STALKERS AT CONCERT: Using facial recognition technology as a way to identify and admit attendees into events might seem futuristic—but it's already happening at major concerts. In May, Taylor Swift's concert at California's Rose Bowl was monitored by a facial recognition program to target the singer's stalkers. The Verge: “Swift’s facial recognition system was built into a kiosk that displayed highlights of her rehearsals, which would secretly record onlookers’ faces. According to Rolling Stone, which spoke with a concert security expert who observed the kiosk, attendees who looked at the kiosk were immediately scanned. Afterward, the data was sent to a 'command post' in Nashville, Tennessee, that attempted to match hundreds of images to a database of her known stalkers. U.S. artists haven’t previously been publicized for using facial recognition tech at their concerts. However, the legality of doing so is on the artist’s side: A concert is technically a private event, therefore event organizers can subject concertgoers to almost any kind of surveillance. The security measures taken for Swift’s event could be considered extreme, but it’s not the first time facial recognition has been used to look out for unwanted attendees. This past April, Chinese police arrested a 31-year-old suspect who was hiding among nearly 60,000 people during a concert at Nanchang International Sports Center. This was made possible by the early stages of China’s own 'Xue Liang,' or 'Sharp Eyes,' monitoring system, which will be tasked with monitoring the movements of its citizens. Back in the U.S., advancements are also being made with facial recognition technology in big crowds. For example, Ticketmaster envisions replacing tickets with a facial scan that is tied to your seat, and it is further developing the tech. While you might not be scanned going to see the next Marvel film, the movie ticket of the future might just be your face."


BOSTON:  The Charles Hotel has appointed Heidi Bergos director of sales and marketing. This is a return for Bergos, who joined the hotel in 2010 and worked there for nearly five years.

LOS ANGELES:  Will & Grace star Megan Mullally will host the 25th annual SAG Awards, which will take place January 27.

The recently renovated Hotel Figueroa downtown has appointed hospitality veterans Adam Sydenham general manager and Greg Velasquez chief marketing officer. Sydenham previously managed the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel, while Velasquez handled sales and marketing at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Miami Beach Botanical Garden’s annual Botanical Bazaar will take place December 16. The event will showcase local artisans selling botanical-theme products. 

NEW YORK:  The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (H.S.M.A.I.) Digital Marketing Strategy Conference will take place January 23 at the New York Marriott Marquis. The Adrian Awards Gala, which recognize innovators in marketing and sales in the hospitality industry, will take place January 22. 

The 13th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience will take place February 11 at Pier Sixty. 

The Madison Square Garden Company has appointed Geraldine Calpin executive vice president and chief marketing officer. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

TORONTO:  Come Up To My Room 2019, the Gladstone Hotel’s annual alternative art and design exhibition, will take place January 17-20. 

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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