Come through, cultural influence! The Louvre may have already been the most popular museum in the world, but thanks to two of the most popular entertainers in the world (and one of the most powerful couples), the famed French museum broke a new record in 2018.
According to The Guardian, over 10 million people visited the Louvre in 2018, marking a 25 percent rise in visitors over the previous year, making it their best year since 2012, when 9.7 million visitors walked their halls.
To what do they owe this uptick? Museum director Jean-Luc Martinez credits the Carters in part, who filmed their “Apeshit” video amongst some of the best-known artworks in the world.
“The Beyoncé video, like the opening of the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi, ensured that the Louvre was talked about across the world,” Martinez said. “[A]nd one of the consequences of that is the spectacular rise in visitor numbers last year.”
The vision for the video, which dropped on June 16, 2018, was pitched to the museum during a May visit by the couple, who have visited no less than four times over the previous decade—famously bringing daughter Blue Ivy and taking selfies in 2014. Their high art-meets-hip hop visual concept easily won over the institution’s administration.
“The deadlines were very tight, but the Louvre was quickly convinced because the synopsis showed a real attachment to the museum and its beloved artworks,” a spokesperson told Vulture at the time, declining to disclose the rental fee for the unprecedented access.
The agreement certainly paid off for the museum, who leveraged the celebrity endorsement—and their predominantly millennial clientele—by launching a 90-minute “Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the Louvre” tour in July, inspired by the video.
But if Beyoncé has inspired greater art appreciation and revenue for the Louvre, at least one fan is now asking for compensation, due to a lack of visual access.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bey’s Parkwood Entertainnment is starting the new year as the target of a class-action lawsuit by a New York woman named Mary Conner. Conner, whom, according to the filing, has “no vision whatsoever,” claims the star’s website violates the Americans With Disabilities Act by not accommodating the visually impaired.
“The one and only form of entertainment that truly presents an even playing field between the visually impaired and the sighted is the joy of music,” Conner’s attorney, Dan Shaked wrote in the formal complaint. “Plaintiff dreams of attending a Beyonce concert and listening to her music in a live setting. However, when she browsed the Beyonce.com website, she encountered numerous barriers which limited her accessibility to the goods and services offered on the website.”
Amongst numerous issues, Conner’s complaint cites the lack of alt-text code on the website, which can be read by a screen-reader. As a result of what she terms an “exclusively visual interface,” she claims to be dependent on a sighted companion to browse the site and make purchases.
In addition to seeking an injunction that would require Parkwood to make requisite changes for full accessibility, Conner is seeking “compensatory damages for class members who have ‘been subjected to unlawful discrimination,’” according to THR. Potential co-plaintiffs would include “all legally blind individuals in the United States who have attempted to access Beyonce.com and as a result have been denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services offered by Beyonce.com, during the relevant statutory period.”
While we fully support full accessibility to the physically impaired and agree that Parkwood should take any and all necessary measures to extend its experience to all of Beyoncé’s fanbase, we admittedly raised an eyebrow at the demand for compensatory damages from a purported fan during an otherwise awareness-raising moment. As of press time, Parkwood had not responded to THR’s request for a comment on the case.