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Rent Prices Are Falling in Some of the City’s Swankiest Buildings

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COVID-19 is affecting housing across Los Angeles, but rental units in some of L.A.’s most expensive and luxurious buildings are bearing the brunt of what economists call “downward pressure.” The result? The cost of leasing so-called Class A rental properties—sleek apartments with amenities including Spin gyms, poolside cabanas, and dog spas—is headed down as vacancies increase. Meanwhile, rents for the city’s most affordable multifamily units remain largely unchanged.

“To this point in the pandemic, high-end luxury apartments are faring much worse than other segments of the market,” says Steve Basham, managing analyst at CoStar Group. “There are a limited number of renter households that can afford luxury apartments in L.A., so competition is more intense at the top of the market. On top of that, virtually every new project that is built in L.A. is a Class A luxury project.”

In downtown L.A., which saw the largest number of new luxury developments in the past decade (with thousands more units still under construction), rents declined 3.1 percent from January to March. Since the onset of the pandemic, they’ve dropped an additional 4.5 percent, bringing the decrease to nearly 8 percent.

DTLA’s Circa L.A. development—where amenities include a two-acre pool resort, communal tasting rooms, and a pet lounge, and rents range from $5,180 per month for a two-bedroom unit to $17,725 for a penthouse—is offering two months free as an incentive to prospective tenants. A few blocks away, Hope + Flower, another newly completed luxury high-rise with a wellness center and sauna pavilions, is offering up to ten weeks rent free for a 24-month lease.

“This doesn’t mean DTLA is going to die as a viable economic unit,” says Stuart Gabriel, professor of finance at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate. “Ultimately, this was happening anyway because it has simply become too expensive.”

Experts say the pandemic is less the cause of the decline in luxury rents and more an accelerant of forces in motion in L.A.’s economy.

“Pre-COVID, we were already starting to see the exit of both jobs and employees with those jobs, often in tech, from the most expensive markets to secondary tech hubs,” says Gabriel. “People from Los Angeles were already moving to high-amenity, high-millennial-friendly cities like Portland, Austin, and Boulder. The difference is that now that no one is asking you to come into the office, destinations are much more dispersed. Pick your place.”


RELATED: The Essential Guide to L.A.’s Post-Pandemic Real Estate Roller Coaster


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More and More L.A. Gyms Are Adapting to the Pandemic by Moving Outdoors

As many fitness enthusiasts are looking to get back to their pre-pandemic workout routines, outdoor gym offerings are expanding–and upgrading. From pilates on a rooftop with a view of the Hollywood Hills, to an outdoor workout space with room for a post-sweat cocktail, here’s a sampling how some Los Angeles gyms have adapted to al fresco fitness.

Los Angeles Athletic Club

This downtown club is celebrating its 140th anniversary in 2020–but not quite in the way they may have originally planned. The facility has recently unveiled 26,000 square feet of outdoor gym space, converting parking areas and an open-air rooftop into workout spaces, an outdoor spa and salon area, and even a beach-themed bar featuring food and drink service and DJs. Even the private club’s beloved shoe shine man, Marco, will return with his own outdoor area for dress shoe and sneaker cleaning. 431 West 7th St., downtown.

Equinox

Equinox, the embattled health club chain targeted with a 2019 boycott campaign for ties to Trump mega-donor Stephen Ross, is set to open its very first fully outdoor club in L.A. on September 21. The facility, dubbed Equinox in the Wild, is spread out across a 27,000-square-foot rooftop space. Stations include strength training, tented cardio areas, and other dedicated spaces. Upgraded Equinox touches are present throughout, including rubber flooring tiles and surround-sound speakers. In the Wild is available to “All Access” and “Destination” members at the Century City location, but not currently included for single-club members at the chain’s other locations. 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Century City.

Sanctuary Fitness

Both the DTLA and Pasadena locations of Sanctuary Fitness are offering outdoor sessions of their popular High-intensity interval training, boxing, and yoga classes. The studio’s health protocols including marking out individual, distanced workout areas for each patron, and requiring instructors to give only touch-free, verbal cues, rather than making any hands-on adjustments. For those who are still not comfortable with working out around other people, Sanctuary is supplementing its outdoor gym schedule with a program of virtual classes available to stream on demand.  718 Jackson St., Arts District; 182 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. 

Speir Pilates

This West Hollywood studio has brought its equipment up to the rooftop, where multiple classes are offered each day. Classes are being kept small, just five participants at a time, many of them personally taught by studio founder and Amanda Speir. Currently, the Santa Monica sister location is not able to offer outdoor sessions.  8350 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.

Row House

This rowing machine-centered group workout studio is offering outdoor gym services at multiple locations across the region. In addition to small classes and distanced machines, Row House has instituted contactless booking and check-in procedures, sanitization of all equipment between users, and an “In Good Health” verification protocol for all participants. 18127 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills; 505 Colorado Ave., Santa Monica; 6451 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach.


RELATED: An L.A.-Area Gym is Offering Workout Pods for COVID-Fearing Fitness Enthusiasts


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Morning Brief: The Bobcat Fire Has Become One of the Largest Ever in L.A. County

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» The Bobcat fire has become one of the largest in L.A. County history. The blaze has consumed nearly 100,000 acres so far.  [Los Angeles Times]

» Did you catch these Emmys last night? If not, here’s a full list of winners. Spoiler: Schitt’s Creek cleaned up. [CNN]

» Mourners gathered outside downtown’s First Street Courthouse for a candlelight vigil in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The crowd came to pay respects, leave flowers, and read Ginsburg’s most powerful opinions. [KTLA]

» Donald Trump wants the new entity created by the TikTok deal he forced to donate $5 billion to an “education fund.” Trump says the money would be used to “educate people” about the “real history in our country.”   [CNN]

» Is a “tsunami” of hotel closures on the horizon? Properties catering to tourists and business travel have seen cratering revenue amid the pandemic and many in the industry worry there may be no recovery in sight for some.  [Los Angeles Times]

» The feared upswing in COVID-19 cases echoing the Labor Day holiday appears to have materialized. L.A. County has reported an increase in daily infection rates, which public health officials believe is likely connected to holiday celebrations.  [KTLA]


TOP STORIES FROM L.A. MAG

»Cheer Fan Favorite Jerry Harris Accused of Producing Child Porn The Emmy-nominated hit has been rocked by a scandal that could result in Harris serving as many as 30 years in prison

» Former Chateau Marmont Employees Allege Racial Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Staffers say that the iconic hotel is a hive of discrimination and mismanagement

» This Year’s Emmy Nominees Are Using Fashion to Get Out the Vote Did you like what Tracee Ellis Ross was wearing? Now you can bid on it


ONE MORE THING

witch's house beverly hills

Who Built That Spooky-Looking Witch’s House in Beverly Hills?

People like to call it the “Witch’s House,” but it was originally built as a movie studio in Culver City for 28-year-old mogul Irvin Willat, who ordered a fantasy mash-up of 18th century Swiss, Belgian, and English cottages that could also be used as a logo for his production company.

 [FULL STORY]


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Those Emmy Hazmat Suits Were Created by a Major Hollywood Costume Designer

Hazmat chic? Makes sense in the middle of a pandemic—and not a bad idea for a Halloween costume. And what exactly are hazmat suits for? The U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines a “hazmat suit” as “an overall garment worn to protect people from hazardous materials or substances, including chemicals, biological agents, or radioactive materials.” Clearly, that includes COVID-19.

This weird, weird year, they were used as part of the Emmys as a way for winners to be safely handed their Emmys—but mostly for laughs.

The tuxedo hazmat suits were designed by one of Hollywood’s top awards show costumers, Katja Cahill, in conjunction with Emmys executive producer Guy Carrington. Cahill is also a celebrity stylist whose been the official costume for many years for the Oscars, Emmys, the Grammys, the Latin Grammys, America’s Got Talent, and a multitude of reality shows.

Cahill and Carrington worked with a real hazmat suit manufacturer so they could actually ensure safety for all the winners and presenters, but they went out of  their way to make them, as Cahill and Carrington say, “safe and classy.”

And they definitely work for Halloween.


RELATED: This Year’s Emmy Nominees Are Using Fashion to Get Out the Vote


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This Year’s Emmy Nominees Are Using Fashion to Get Out the Vote

For weeks now we’ve been hearing how many ways the 72nd mid-pandemic virtual Emmys will be unique—and here’s another one. Despite the absence of a red carpet to strut down, many of the nominees are still going glam, even if it’s in pajamas like Jameela Jamil did. The virtual Emmy’s are sure to give way to the new pandemic glam we might call “comfy couture.”

But with the election coming up in just 44 days (November 3—don’t forget!), the philanthropic/activist group Red Carpet Advocacy, aka RAD, founded a year ago by career fashionistas Arianne Phillips and fashion pro Carineh Martin, has teamed up with former First Lady Michelle Obama’s election year charity, When We All Vote. In partnership with some of Hollywood’s top celebrity stylists: Elizabeth Stewart (clients Cate Blanchett, Viola Davis, Julia Roberts), Karla Welch (clients Tracee Ellis Ross, Sarah Paulson, Elisabeth Moss), Law Roach (clients Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Anne Hathaway), Cristina Ehrlich (clients) Margot Robbie, Tina Fey, Amy Adams), and Jill & Jordan (Jennifer Lawrence, Margaret Qualley, Rachel Brosnahan), the looks of a number of Emmy nominees will be donated to a major RAD Emmy couture auction.

So when you feast your eyes on nominees Kerry Washington, Mahershala Ali, Tracee Ellis Ross, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Brosnahan, Uzo Aduba, Nicholas Braun, Issa Rae, or Samira Wiley while watching the Emmys, know that the fabulous clothes on their backs, donated by a number top designers, will be actually be helping to get out the vote.

And if you’re interested in any of the looks, the RAD Auction from the Emmys will be open for bidding from September 23 to October 2, and all the money raised goes to When We All Vote.

Visit chic-relief.com for more info.


RELATED: What to Expect from Tonight’s ‘Pandemic Emmys’


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What to Expect from Tonight’s ‘Pandemic Emmys’

The Emmys are tonight, but with so much going on at the moment—wildfires, a global pandemic, an election season that keeps getting more and more gruesome—the awards seem like they’ve barely been on anyone’s radar. And the weird nature of the show probably isn’t helping. The 72nd Emmy Awards, broadcast Sunday night on ABC, will have no live red carpet, no live audience, no pre parties, no after parties—this is a pandemic Emmys like no other.

Last year’s host-less show was a ratings disaster, so Jimmy Kimmel was brought on as master of ceremonies. As he told Variety, “This year we kept the host and got rid of the audience. Everyone says, ‘These shows are all the same.’ This one is definitely not going to be the same.” While Kimmel will be almost all alone with a socially distant crew, broadcasting live from the Staples Center, he dropped some hints about possible celebrity guests on stage with him. Given his longtime faux frenemy schtick with Matt Damon, he’s likely to be one of them. An alpaca made an appearance at rehearsals on Friday.

How can winners accept their awards spontaneously when they won’t be in the theater with a presenter? Virtually, of course. A hundred and thirty cameras have been set up all over the world—New York, L.A., London, Toronto, Tel Aviv, Berlin—to document any winner whose name happens to be called. Producers Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart admit it’s been something of a technical nightmare for the crew and the actors, and no one knows exactly how it will all go.

And how do stars dress for a big night when the big night will be spent on the sofa? “We stylists are looking toward at-home gowns, silk pajamas, and even Tom Ford sweats,” one celeb stylist with several nominee clients confided to us. “Some actors will be at home on the couch with family and dogs, some sitting in bed, some in hotel rooms. It’s not going to be glam, glitz and gowns, that’s for sure.

Jill Chayet, founder of the Bluprint PR agency, says very little jewelry was pulled from her showroom—or anywhere. Few of the male noms even hired stylists for tuxes or designer suits, we heard from top men’s stylist Ilaria Urbinati. But of course, nominee Billy Porter never fails to turn it out, so we can count on him for some fabulous flamboyance. One stylist confided, “We are highly aware people are suffering from economic and health crises, so it would be bad taste for stars to do it up too much. However, don’t expect them to keep their political views of the election low key.”

Spencer Spaulding, co-found of Forward Artists, which reps some of the top celeb hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylists, says, “With the Emmy’s officially kicking off an unprecedented award season, it will be interesting to see how the show is presented, when it comes to the show and the fashion, most likely setting the tone through Oscars. With a number of factors contributing to fewer stylist bookings this season, health and safety remain our top priority. The beauty, fashion, and entertainment industries are incredibly resilient—and we remain optimistic things will continue to bounce back.”

The networks that always do red carpet preshows have drummed up something to feed our hunger for fashion and escapism: ABC will have a virtual red carpet with a 90-minute live countdown show streaming on ABC News Live and Emmys.com. E! will kick off its Countdown to the Red Carpet three hours before the show as usual, even without a red carpet. According to Variety, the network has built a stage on the Universal lot for a more authentic red-carpet show feel. They report: “The red carpet specials will still include plenty of talk about the nominees, as well as interviews with celebrities—but done remotely. That has actually allowed the shows’ producers to better plan out their ‘red carpet’ specials, which normally are much more on the fly, as stars pop up unannounced and producers have to juggle the crush of talent as they head down the carpet.”

Who won Creative Arts Emmys this week?

From Monday to this past Thursday, the Creative Arts Emmys were held virtually, and the winners are a prognosticator of Sunday night’s winners. Disney+’s The Mandalorian, with 15 overall nominations, picked up seven Emmy’s including Visual Effects and Cinematography, which put it neck and neck with HBO’s Watchmen. RuPaul’s Drag Race racked up five wins for VH1. Short-form digital network Quibi picked up its very first Emmys, for Lawrence Fishburne and Jasmine Cephas Jones, stars of Quibi’s #FreeRayshawn. Maya Rudolph picked up her very first Emmy, for her role in Netflix’s Big Mouth. Schitt’s Creek picked up the award for Best Comedy Casting, while HBO’s Succession took Best Drama Casting. Watchmen, Euphoria, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home statuettes for music, and Mrs. Maisel picked up a makeup award. The Crown and Watchmen got costume kudos.

Who’s expected to take home statuettes on Sunday night?

Because of the pandemic, the networks dramatically pared back their usual campaigns, but many of the same shows ended up being faves when the nominations were announced. HBO’s Succession is expected to produce an Outstanding Lead Actor winner in either Jeremy Strong or Brian Cox. Ozark star Laura Linney is the one many critics predict will take home Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but you can’t count out Oscar winner Olivia Colman’s performance season three of Netflix’s The Crown. Colman’s co-star, Helena Bonham Carter, is most likely to get Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. And while Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is perennially popular, Schitt’s Creek’s Catherine O’Hara might steal the gold from Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan, as the last season of Schitt’s Creek was its most popular. In fact, Dan Levy will likely take Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy.

And what will the winners be doing after the show? Not dashing to their limos for party gridlock like usual. They’ll be doing what we’ll all be doing: grabbing the clicker to see what’s on next. If you need a little more action before you switch to Netflix, turn in to Entertainment Tonight’s live after show, in which they’ll be Zooming into the winners’ homes to keep the star quotient going.


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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Died at 87

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died at the age of 87, due to complications from cancer. As a justice and throughout her career, Ginsburg was a tireless advocate for the rights of women, the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, and other historically repressed groups. Ginsburg was an icon whose reach went beyond the legal world and reached into popular culture.

“Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

In her waning days, she dictated a statement to granddaughter, Clara Spera, to be delivered after her passing. In that statement, she Ginsburg issued what is thought to be her final request of the country which she served for so many years: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”


RELATED: There Are a Lot of Lessons to Be Learned From the Life of the Notorious RBG


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Outmoded Tech Is Making Mountains of Waste. Is There Any Stopping ‘Upgrade Culture’?

Nearly a decade ago, artist Julia Christensen was in India working on a project when she visited an e-waste processing center and was shocked by the sheer amount of trash she saw.

“I immediately was struck by the question of what is it with our relationship with this stuff that is perpetuating this crazy environmental disaster,” she says over a Zoom call from her studio in Oberlin, Ohio. “I started thinking about our human relationships with electronics and recordable media and thinking about those complexities in order to more broadly understand the e-waste crisis.”

upgrade culture
Patch cables, Mustafabad Market (Delhi, India), 2015, from the series Technology Time
(2011–ongoing).

Courtesy the artist

Christensen’s solo exhibition, Upgrade Available, is open now at the Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery at ArtCenter College of Design. The show, which runs through December 20 and will be presented as a virtual exhibition until the gallery reopens, presents a portion of the work that Christensen has made as a result of that trip to the e-waste site. In June, her book of the same name was released through Dancing Foxes Press.

Since 2011, Christensen has been exploring what she calls “upgrade culture,” the collective desire to continually invest in new gear that’s led to a monumental haul of electronic garbage. And, in that time, new generations of cell phones, tablets, and computers have hit the market in relatively rapid succession as the old ones are tossed aside. “Question marks remain,” she says of recycling processes where, maybe, a small portion of the old devices is recycled. “Very often, a lot of the item are trashed.”

She adds, “I just think that the public, in general, hasn’t gotten to the point where we’re thinking critically about this on a mass global scale.”

Christensen considers how the quick pace of technological advancements impact our personal lives. What does this need to obtain the latest gadgets and the latest media formats say about us and our memories? She also looks at how this phenomenon impacts cultural institutions like the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where she was awarded an Art + Tech Lab Fellowship in 2017. For a museum like LACMA, the archives have been stored using decades of the latest technology. “In the institutional archives, there is every kind of media technology that you can imagine, lots of which is now obsolete,” says Christensen. In the new exhibition, she included a few photos of what she found in those archives.

CyberGuard Robot Sensor (Ahmanson Gallery, LACMA), 2020, from the series Smart Buildings (2017–ongoing).

Courtesy the artist

Through photography, Christensen captures both the physical media used to hold on to memories and archival footage, as well as e-waste. “I think that it’s interesting to look at these photographs juxtaposed next to each other because it’s the same stuff,” she says, “but, depending on the context, the material has totally different financial and cultural value.”

Through LACMA, Christensen was able to connect with scientists and engineers from the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena. They’re now collaborating on technology with a long enough lifespan to possibly support lengthy space missions. One concept presented in her exhibition is an antenna system that uses living trees.

Upgrade Available will also include an installation called “Burnouts,” that’s built with now-obsolete models of iPhones and iPads that display animations of constellations that have been retired. “It turns out that every now and then, astronomers determine that certain constellations are no longer relevant to the study of the night sky. They retire them from star maps,” says Christensen. “I thought it was so interesting that the stars are still there. They are still shining perfectly well, but because we can’t see them as well, because of changes on our own planet, usually light pollution, they’re no longer relevant to us.”

So, why should people be thinking critically about upgrade culture? “Clearly, the environmental disaster that is being wreaked upon our planet is critical,” says Christensen. On the micro-level, though, Christen says that it’s important to think and talk about how much control we have over our relationship with electronics. “So much of this upgrade culture, it feels like it’s forced upon us,” she says. “As a consumer public, I hope that, increasingly, we have more agency over what that looks like.”

In the course of her work regarding upgrade culture, Christensen has learned how complicated the relationship is between consumers, electronic equipment, and related media.

“I think that it is important for us to think about that in our personal lives,” she says. “Why do I need this stuff? How can I fulfill those needs without upgrading all the time?”


RELATED: Kenny Scharf Is Pissed and This Pile of Plastic Toys Is Proof


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‘Cheer’ Fan Favorite Jerry Harris Accused of Producing Child Porn

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Jerry Harris, a breakout star on the Emmy-winning Netflix docuseries Cheer was arrested and charged with producing child pornography in U.S. District Court in Chicago Thursday.

Harris, 21, is accused of “enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself.”

According to court records, Harris, who did not enter a plea Thursday, admitted to federal agents that he solicited and received explicit messages on Snapchat from ten to 15 people he knew to be minors, had sex with a 15-year-old at a 2019 cheerleading competition, and paid a 17-year-old for nude photos, USA Today reports.

Seeking to keep Harris detained, prosecutor Christopher Parente said Harris had committed “a crime of violence” and was a danger to the community. The judge ordered Harris to remain in custody until a Monday morning hearing, when the court will consider if can be released on bond.

On Monday, the mother of 14-year-old twin boys who claim Harris had been soliciting them online and at cheerleading competitions starting when they were 13 filed a lawsuit against Harris. A rep for Harris said at the time, “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”

“We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have taken swift action to protect children by investigating, arresting and charging Jerry Harris,” the family’s attorney, Sarah Klein, said in a statement. “This was made possible because our clients’ mother had the courage to report Harris to the FBI as well as the Fort Worth Police Department and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered.”

If convicted, Harris faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison.

Cheer has already won two Emmys this year and is up for Outstanding Unstructured Reality program at Saturday’s virtual Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Coach Monica Aldama said in an Instagram post that her “heart has been shattered into a million pieces” by the news.

[Instagram url=”https://www.instagram.com/p/CFRQsuygh2z/” hidecaption=true]

In a statement to CNN, a Netflix spokesperson said, “Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”


RELATED: Netflix Breaks Records at the 2020 Emmy Nominations


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The U.S. Will Start Banning New TikTok Downloads on Sunday

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SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on Friday morning that starting Sunday, September 20, Americans will be banned from downloading Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat, which the Washington Post is calling a “seemingly unprecedented move that will sharply raise tensions with Beijing.” According to Politico, WeChat will basically have to stop operating on Sunday, but TikTok will still be useable until mid-November (aka just after the election) by people who’ve downloaded it prior to the ban.

According to the Department of Commerce, the move—which was set into motion by an August executive order signed by Donald Trump—is intended to protect Americans from having their personal data “maliciously” collected by the Chinese government. “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. It’s unclear how banning new downloads while still allowing current users to continue their activity on the app will achieve that goal.

Earlier this week, database and cloud tech company Oracle presented a proposal to the U.S. Treasury department to become TikTok parent company ByteDance’s U.S. partner, a role that had previously been pursued by both Microsoft and Walmart.

Although the Oracle deal—which is apparently still being reviewed—would mean user data would be stored by a U.S. company, ByteDance would still have majority control of the app, which Trump opposes.


SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 — Database and cloud tech giant Oracle will partner with Trump-teasing media platform TikTok in a deal to keep the video app operating within the U.S. Though some analysts had expected TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell its U.S. operations to Microsoft, Oracle’s co-founder and chairman just happens to be GOP fundraiser Larry Ellison—one of Trump’s closest, and most generous, pals.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, Oracle said in a statement Monday that it “will serve as the trusted technology provider” for TikTok, adding, “Oracle has a 40-year track record providing secure, highly performant technology solutions.”

Earlier this summer, Trump signed an executive order that would forbid individuals and companies in the U.S. from using TikTok starting September 20 if ByteDance did not divest TikTok’s U.S. operations. TikTok is suing to block the order, calling it unconstitutional, but if the ban goes into effect the video service could be dropped from Apple’s and Google’s mobile app stores, causing TikTok’s 1,500 U.S. employees to lose their jobs, and forcing untold numbers of L.A. influencers to rebuild their brands on other platforms.

The Trump administration has cited “national security” as its reason for the ban, saying that TikTok could be sending user info to the Chinese government—an accusation TikTok has repeatedly denied. The order, however, was issued shortly after TikTok users in America employed the app in a series of publicly humiliating pranks on Trump.

In June, for instance, the users tricked Trump’s team into announcing that more than a million people would be at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where only 6,200 people actually showed up. Days later, the pranksters setup an elaborate hoax to temporarily shut down Trump’s online tchotchke shop.

Oracle employees and locals alike protested in February, when Ellison hosted a fundraiser for Trump at his Coachella Valley estate, with tickets ranging from $100,000 to $250,000.

And that’s just one of the fruits of the cozy relationship.

In December, 2016, Oracle Chief Executive Safra Catz joined Trump’s transition team while still keeping his position at Oracle, Reuters reports. Catz has also donated more than $130,000 toward Trump’s reelection and, in 2019, Oracle gave between $500,000 and $999,999 to Trade Works for America, a Republican operation to support Trump’s NAFTA replacement bill.

And it’s more than just money that Ellison has gifted Trump. This March, it was Ellison himself who informed Trump about the wonders of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. He also reportedly offered to have Oracle help collect data about the drug, free of charge.

On Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the deal would be a win for everyone that would “create TikTok global, as a U.S. headquartered company, with 20,000 new jobs.”

Oracle shares shot up by 10 percent with the news Monday, but some experts believe that even Ellison’s warm presence may not be enough to quell Trump’s fears.

“They could control the inflows and outflows from a national security perspective,” Daniel Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, told the Times. “If that’s enough of a stamp for the White House to have comfort with the deal, that is something that remains to be seen.”


RELATED: Oracle Boss Larry Ellison’s Coachella Valley Trump Fundraiser Protested by Employees and Locals Alike


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