MGM Lawsuit Against Victims Creates Public Relations Firestorm

Mandalay Bay

MGM Resorts International, the company that owns Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and the Route 91 Harvest festival venue, has sued the victims of the location’s mass shooting, which occurred during the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017, killing 58 people and leaving more than 500 injured.

The filing, a complaint for declaratory judgment in federal court in Las Vegas, cites a 2002 federal act called the SAFETY Act and seeks to remove MGM’s liability for the rampage and place it on Contemporary Services Corporation, the security vendor MGM hired for the concert.

While MGM is not seeking compensation from the survivors, backlash has grown from the filing, which includes the names of the victims of the 2017 mass shooting and their loved ones as defendants.

While perhaps a strategic legal move, the optics of the filing has caused a public relations nightmare for MGM and its properties. Some people have taken to social media to call out the company by using the hashtag, #BoycottMGM.

Eric Rose, a partner at California-based crisis management firm Englander Knabe and Allen, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that MGM should have explained its actions before media outlets began reporting the lawsuit against the victims. He also believes MGM will see immediate losses from cancelled bookings and a reduction in new reservations.

Yesterday, MGM Resorts tweeted, “We have filed what is known as an action for declaratory relief. All we are doing, in effect, is asking for a change in venue from state to federal court. We are not asking for money or attorney’s fees. We only want to resolve these cases quickly, fairly and efficiently.”

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