On Sunday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) responded to criticism surrounding the price of tickets for his book tour on Ticketmaster, telling an interviewer that he needs to operate within the system despite his goal to tear it down and change it.
“Tickets for your tour apparently are selling for $95 on Ticketmaster, which is accused of anti-competitive behavior. You know that. Some of your Democrats are criticizing them. Aren’t you benefiting yourself from this system that you’re trying to dismantle?” CBS’ Margaret Brennan asked.
Sanders claimed that the decisions were made by the publisher and bookseller, prompting Brennan to ask if he was okay with doing business with Ticketmaster.
“No, not particularly. But that’s again, I had nothing to do with that. That is – if you wrote a book, probably be the same process,” he said.
“So you have to operate within the system,” Brennan asked.
“I do,” Sanders responded. “Write a book, a major publisher, etc., etc.”
The comments come as front-row tickets for Sanders’ event, which is set to promote his new book, “It’s Okay to Be Angry About Capitalism,” at the Anthem in Washington, D.C., currently sit with a price tag of nearly $100 on the website.
“I think there’s one case where in one place here in Washington, Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore, charging some tickets, most of them I think, are $40, $50. And you get a book as well. So if you want to come, you’re gonna have to pay 40 bucks, I’ll throw in the book for free. And we’re doing a number of free events, but I don’t make a nickel out of these things at all,” Sanders said during the interview.
Sanders was slammed for selling tickets via Ticketmaster, pointing to the “irony” of Sanders’ anti-capitalist book benefitting so heavily from capitalism.
“Anyone else see the ‘irony’ in Bernie Sanders selling tickets for his “It’s Okay to Be Angry About Capitalism” book tour on Ticketmaster?” Rep. Bill Huizenga (D-MI) wrote on Twitter.
Ticketmaster is currently facing a Judiciary Committee hearing, announced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT), for a lack of competition in the ticketing industry following the site’s mishandling of Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” ticket sales.
In addition, the 81-year-old Sanders reacted to Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s call for “mental competency” tests for any politician over the age of 75.
“Yeah, you know, we are fighting racism, we’re fighting sexism, we’re fighting homophobia, I think we should also be fighting ageism,” he said. “Trust people, look at people and say, you know, this person is competent, this person is not competent. There are a lot of 40-year-olds out there who ain’t particularly competent. Older people, you know, you look at the individual, I don’t think you make a blanket statement.”
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