A promotional tour for Rihanna’s latest album Unapologetic is swiftly turning into a PR nightmare.
The tour was due to send the Barbadian singer along with 250 journalists and fans to seven cities in seven nights – but has become mired in delays and complaints from those on board about fatigue and a notable absence of the star.
To call the tour ambitious was a compliment from the very beginning as it required an airtight schedule.
The 777 Tour kicked off in Mexico City, Mexico on Wednesday and almost failed at the first hurdle – though it was out of her hands. The flight faced a delay after her first show when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City, prompting a backlog of flight problems.
The plane full of photographers, journalists and fans had to wait for the all clear before they could take-off from Mexico and travel to the second stop in Toronto, Canada.
There was no such drama after that concert - but there was still a delay as Rihanna chose to chill backstage with her Battleship co-star Brooklyn Decker, who took a break from filming in the city to pay a visit, before boarding her plane bound for a Friday night gig in Sweden.
The singer was two-and-a-half hours late for her third performance, in Stockholm, leading to an apparent three-hour flight delay.
Having performed five shows so far, most recently in Berlin, she has already been fined over US$317,000, according to UK newspaper The Sun.
Rihanna's team is said to have been making “frantic calls” to airports before each flight. But their efforts have not been enough to stop airport officials from issuing hundreds of thousands in fines, it is claimed.
“Every hour that goes by she has to pay for flight clearance on runways and also incurs costs of the private airport teams, customs, baggage handlers and security,” an insider said.
A source tells the publication several of Rihanna’s is solely to blame for the fiasco.
“Rihanna delays going on stage, which throws out the whole schedule,” a source said. “It’s a reaction to the fact that every second of her time is accounted for by organisers. She likes to be in control.”
The Edge tour winner Stacey Lee backs this up: “From what we’ve heard we’re told to get on the plane so when Rihanna’s ready we can go.”
So far, Rihanna’s camp has been… unapologetic.
3 News / Cover Media / WENN.com