Jay-Z is finally bringing his hyper-exclusive Oscars afterparty back to L.A., but Hollywood A-listers who are psyched to attend the event at the Chateau Marmont will first have to cross picket lines full of workers and their supporters who say the hotel abuses employees.
Things have obviously changed in the two years since Jay-Z last brought his “Gold Party” to the hotel’s parking garage to celebrate the Academy Awards. For instance, according to the union that represents workers accusing Chateau Marmont of harassment and discrimination, “In March 2020, the famed Chateau Marmont fired virtually its entire workforce. Workers who dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel were left without job security or affordable healthcare in the middle of the pandemic.”
Unite Here Local 11, which represents 32,000 hospitality workers aside from the Chateau employees across Southern California and Arizona, and which has successfully campaigned against other rarified local destinations, plans to have picket lines outside Jay-Z’s fete, the union says.
The 2020 party—with its double-secret no-phones policy—drew the likes of Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Travis Scott, Gabrielle Union and Charlize Theron. However, the boycott that soon followed has been publicly endorsed by Gabrielle Union, Spike Lee, Issa Rae, Samira Wiley, Robin Thede, Quinta Brunson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Ashley Nicole Black, the union says.
The bold-name support is due, in part, to a variety of lawsuits brought against the hotel since the shutdowns. Former events server Thomasina Gross—who Unite Here 11 says served Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s guests at past post-Oscars soirees—filed suit against the hotel in January 2021, claiming she experienced racial discrimination and sexual harassment while working other Chateau events.
Former night auditor April Blackwell filed a second lawsuit in April 2021, alleging that she experienced a racially hostile work environment and other unsafe working conditions at the Chateau.
“For Jay-Z to choose the Chateau Marmont for their Gold Party is shockingly insensitive,” Kurt Petersen, co-president of Unite Here Local 11, said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter’s Gary Baum. “They must move their event and choose an afterparty hot spot that treats its workers, especially Black women, with dignity and respect. Jay-Z has a responsibility to do better.”
Petersen added, “We hope Jay-Z joins Gabrielle Union, Spike Lee, Issa Rae, Robin Thede, Quinta Brunson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Ashley Nicole Black and Samira Wiley in boycotting Chateau Marmont.”
As Baum points out, at least two major productions have already quit the Chateau Marmont rather than betray the boycott. But it remains to be seen what will happen on Sunday, when the world’s luckiest people have to decide whether Jay-Z’s party is socially justifiable. And Beyonce will be there, too.
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