Sarah Palin’s Lecture Contract Clauses, From Jets To Pre-Screen Questions

As I mentioned earlier, Sarah Palin has made around $12 million after quitting as governor of Alaska. Six pages of her speaking contract were found in a dumpster. This revealed demands including big jets, a suite with two rooms at a deluxe hotel, water bottles with bendable straws at the lectern, and pre-screened questions. Regarding the jet:

“The private aircraft MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger (as defined by interior cabin space) for West Coast Events; or, a Hawker 800 or Larger (as defined by interior cabin space for) East Coast Events, and both are subject to the Speaker’s approval. The Speaker Reserves the right to change the flight plans at any time,” the contract states.

I agree with Ben Smith that the most significant clauses regard pre-screening of questions:

“A moderator or a designated representative (designated by the customer and approved by [Washington Speakers Bureau]) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker,” says the contract, under the heading, “Audience Q&A.”

In a separate section covering events conducted remotely, via a satellite feed (usually for a lower fee), the contract reads: “For Q&A, the questions are to be collected from the audience in advance, pre-screened, and a designated representive (by Customer and approved by Speaker via WSB) shall ask questions directly of the Speaker to avoid delay time with a roving microphene in the audience.”

I ran those provisions past a veteran of the speaking bureau industry, who found it surprising and “definitely NOT standard”: Most paid speakers, and certainly the handful of six-figure speakers, take some audience questions, he said, and pre-screening of questions is virtually unheard of.

This does not come as a surprise. If the questions weren’t pre-screened, how could she write the answers on her hand?

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