Did Joe Biden’s Campaign Hold a $2,800 ‘Virtual Fireside Chat’?

Claim

Joe Biden's campaign sold tickets to a "virtual fireside chat" in April 2020, charging donors $2,800 for access to a livestream.

Rating

True

Reporting

In early April 2020, rumors circulated that Joe Biden’s presidential campaign had scheduled a “virtual fireside chat,” charging $2,800 for any donors wishing to access a livestream of the event:

The rumor appeared in at least three separate subreddits, too:

Virtual Fireside chat with Joe Biden will cost $2800 to attend from SandersForPresident

Joe Biden Charging $2,800 to Attend Elitist Virtual Fireside Chat from BreadTube

Joe Biden is holding a fireside chat. To view the livestream will cost $2,800 per person. This will be done in the middle of a pandemic in which over 10 million Americans have lost their jobs. I am literally disgusted, even Trump wouldn’t go that low. from WayOfTheBern

The “fireside chat,” of course, is not a 2020 invention. The term is most closely associated with radio addresses given by United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt between 1933 and 1944. during the Great Depression and World War II.

As the COVID-19 pandemic led to blanket stay-at-home orders in a number of states, Biden’s primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, hosted the first of many nightlyfireside chats” on March 14 2020:

Sanders’ move to “digital rallies” and his use of fireside chats proved popular:

By March 20 2020, at least one popular tweet addressed Sanders’ frequent appearances, contrasting them with Biden’s relatively low profile at the time. Another was less critical:

When April 2020 rolled around, news of Joe Biden’s purported foray into fireside chats began spreading on Twitter:

Readers said that Biden was hosting his own fireside chat, with one crucial difference. While Sanders’ fireside chats were free to attend, Biden’s purportedly came with a $2,800 price tag:

On JoeBiden.com an event page existed, archived here:

Virtual Fireside Chat with Vice President Joe Biden
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Time TBA
Login instructions will be provided prior to event.

Co-Host: $25,000 (Raise) Includes pre-event VIP Clutch
Attendee: $2,800

Three fields followed that portion of the page: contact information (name and address), employer information (“required by law,”) and “Ticket & Attendee Information.” That third field indicated the only available ticket option was “attendee,” and the cost was $2,800.

A separated field allowed attendees to purchase a maximum of two tickets at a total of $5,600:

Several tweets and Reddit posts claimed that Joe Biden was holding a “Virtual Fireside Chat” in April 2020. As the tweets stated, information on JoeBiden.com indicated that tickets were available for purchase, priced at $2,800 each or $5,600 for a maximum of two tickets. The page said that login instructions would be provided prior to the event, presumably to avoid any non-ticketed audience members from accessing Biden’s livestream.

Comments