Sugarland Flubs Response to Victims

SugarlandCountry music group Sugarland is facing lawsuits following a stage collapse at a concert last summer. At the Indiana State Fair, seven people were killed and 45 were injured. 

In the lawsuits, victims and their families criticize the band and the fair for not postponing the show because of bad weather conditions and not evacuating more quickly. Attorneys for Sugarland responded harshly to the allegations: "Some or all of the plaintiffs' claimed injuries resulted from their own fault." Critics call the legal approach "cowardly." Read the entire legal statement

The statement is a dramatic contrast to what Jennifer Nettles, lead singer, said two days after the incident:

"...moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured."

In response to criticism of the legal statement, Gail Gellman, Sugarland's manager, posted this on the group's website:

"Sadly when a tragedy occurs, people want to point fingers and try to sensationalize the disaster. The single most important thing to Sugarland, are their fans. Their support and love over the past 9 years has been unmatched. For anyone to think otherwise is completely devastating to them."

Also on the website are comments from many supportive fans, who compliment Sugarland and their music.

Although Sugarland had been tweeting almost daily, their last tweet was on February 15-now a week ago. Fans might like to hear directly from the duo.

Discussion Starters:

  • What is the attorney's perspective in this situation? Do you agree with this position?
  • What should the Sugarland duo do at this point? What, if anything, should they tweet or write on their website? What are the potential consequences, and is it worth it?