Neal Schon has filed a lawsuit against Live Nation, claiming his wife was violently assaulted two years ago at a JOURNEY concert by a security guard hired by the company.
The alleged incident occurred during the confetti drop following JOURNEY's March 14, 2017 performance of "Don't Stop Believing" at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana and was captured on video, but the video later provided by the venue shows a 20-second gap from the moment of the assault to the confrontation of an ESG staff by JOURNEY's security and fast retreat off camera by Michaele Schon.
Michaele said: "Every year, for nearly a decade now, I've been at every show with my husband, and I take video footage and pictures — behind the scenes, the shows, and even our days off — that we share with friends and fans around the world. The fans are so kind and thank me for the videos of Neal and JOURNEY and all of our adventures.
"Prior to this show, as with every night, I was introduced to the manager and security, and proceeded to film from the moment the show started and throughout. I walked all over in front of and around the stage without incident. Then, when the confetti dropped and I was recording the stage, I was suddenly attacked and shoved into the P.A. JOURNEY security guards came to my assistance, once seeing the attack. JOURNEY's security reviewed the venue's security tape, and the entire incident was recorded; the approach, attack, security coming to help me, everything. At the end of the tape, you see one of the security guards position him against the barrier and later remove him from Neal's protected area while I'm running off because I did break down crying.
"Since going public, everyone has been asking, why did it take two years? That's simple, management told us to not worry, to not say anything, and that they would take care of it. For over a year, we were strung along believing that it was being pursued, with [former Live Nation executive chairman] Irving [Azoff] telling us repeatedly that he had it under control. Then the tragedy of my mother's injury and subsequent entrapment in a horrific situation consumed our lives. For the next 18 months, we were fighting to save my mother's life from the corrupt Virginia elder care system; that was our focus and we succeeded. We restored her life."
Added Neal: "After 50 years of performing professionally, I have never seen anything like this before. My wife has toured with me for every show for nearly a decade and now this happens. It was definitely intentional that they targeted my wife and I to inflict pain, fear, and hurt as a way to scare her. What is even worse is that I don't believe anyone believed that my wife was seriously, mentally or physically, harmed by this incident, even though she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis since 1993. Then Irving Azoff suggested we go to his friend, a doctor in L.A. Dr. Hart did testing on Michaele and said he could definitely see the newly developed lesions on her brain, which were due to the trauma from the attack that she sustained. This wasn't a momentary event, it's something that will follow her."
He continued: "What's even more compelling is that our [JOURNEY's] head security guard, Leo, removed the assailant and then informed me when I got off stage. I was in disbelief and instructed Leo to get the tape from the venue and watch it. He said he did and it was all there, yet when we got it, there were clearly 20 seconds edited out. When I wrote back, I asked where those 20 seconds of footage went, I was told, 'Oh, that must've been a glitch.' But there's no other glitch in the whole hour-and-a-half performance. Just right when the incident happened. It was obviously edited, as anyone can see."
Over the last decade, Michaele has been a ubiquitous presence on all of Neal's tours, traveling with him and providing support and comfort as well as documenting the shows and behind-the-scenes celebrations, and is recognizable to all with her warm and exuberant presence.
Prior to the start of the concert, Live Nation and ESG management and security personnel were introduced to and instructed that Michaele was to be in any area necessary in order to take photographs and video footage of her husband and the band, the Schons claim. ESG Security personnel were shown pictures of Michaele prior to the JOURNEY concert.
The Schons are suing for assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, claiming that the guard's behavior caused Michaele "mental anguish, mental trauma, humiliation, mortification, fright and indignity." They also claim that his actions triggered a pre-existing health condition.
The security guard filed his own papers, claiming that Michaele "attempted to enter a restricted area for reasons unknown" but he did not attack her. The venue also denied all of the allegations in a separate filing.
Neal Schon founded JOURNEY in 1972 and has been the only consistent member, having participated in every album and tour to date.