Entertainer Sues Cruise Line Over Passenger Action On Stage

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A year after a passenger tackled an entertainer onstage aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas, the entertainer is now suing the cruise line and Royal Caribbean Group for damages.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court, Southern District of Florida on December 19, 2023, and is progressing toward a court date.

Magician Files Suit Against Royal Caribbean

Well-known Australian magician Ben Murphy has filed suit against Royal Caribbean Group, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. and the assailant who tackled him during a performance on March 1, 2023, during a 5-night cruise out of Brisbane, Australia.

The incident happened during one of Murphy’s onboard performances, approximately halfway through the interactive magic show. Murphy regularly invites audience members on stage to participate in his tricks and illusions, and a female passenger was onstage with him at the time.

Now, Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. (LM&W) has filed a lawsuit for its client (Ben Murphy) seeking damages in excess of $75,000 (USD), not including legal costs and interest. The lawsuit includes a demand for a jury trial. The case has been assigned to Judge Jonathan Goodman and is now being processed via affidavits, discovery, and other appropriate legal processes.

Murphy’s attorney alleges that the magician suffered bruises and blurry vision as a result of the incident onboard Quantum of the Seas, which included hitting his head on the stage floor. This lawsuit is intended to be compensation for those injuries and other effects of the incident.

What Happened During the Show?

Murphy—well known for his “Interactive Comedy Experience Shows”—was a guest entertainer aboard Quantum of the Seas during the five-night cruise that departed Brisbane, Australia, on February 26, 2023. As is customary for cruise ship entertainers, Murphy had several performances scheduled during the sailing, each time bringing new tricks to the audience.

Magician Tackled on Stage
Magician Tackled on Stage

During one of his March 1 shows, a female guest was sitting on the edge of the stage to perform a card trick with Murphy when another male passenger – who was not invited on stage – quickly approached the stage and pushed Murphy. The woman tried to stay between them, but the man walked away after a couple of seconds, his body language indicating he was upset or angry.

The incident happened in the Royal Theater, the ship’s main show lounge, in front of hundreds of passengers enjoying the evening’s entertainment. Video footage was captured of the incident, and at the time, Murphy shared the footage on his social media accounts.

“Entertainment, comedy, and magic are NOT contact sports,” he said.

It is not clear whether the two passengers—the woman who volunteered to participate in the show and the man who physically pushed Murphy—knew one another or were traveling together.

Quantum of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Mohd Syis Zulkipli / Shutterstock.com

Though the incident was startling for everyone attending the show, Murphy continued the performance and also offered multiple performances later in the sailing. He has since continued performing in a variety of venues, including both public and private functions. It is not known whether Murphy has since performed aboard any other Royal Caribbean cruise ships.

The cruise line did not comment on the incident at the time, and multiple guests onboard the sailing noted that the man who caused the incident was able to continue enjoying the cruise until it returned to Brisbane on March 3.

“This guest should not have been allowed to enjoy the rest of his cruise,” Murphy commented at the time.

The incident is a clear violation of Royal Caribbean International’s Guest Conduct Policy, which clearly states that guests may not engage in “uninvited physical contact” with any crew member. Nor is “discourteous or disruptive” behavior permitted, and interrupting and shoving an entertainer certainly would be seen as uninvited, discourteous, and disruptive.

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