Despite appeals from workers, fans, and Black clergy, some of Hollywood’s elite callously cross workers’ Oscar night picket line
LOS ANGELES–Last night, Jay-Z’s exclusive Gold Party was held amidst a huge protest of workers, community allies, and prominent Black clergy. The exclusive Oscar night after-party garnered media backlash due to it being held at the Chateau Marmont – the subject of a highly-publicized boycott after firing over 200 workers at the start of the pandemic.
Workers, prominent Black clergy leaders, and community allies held a red carpet picket line and dance party with a live DJ outside the iconic Hollywood hotel Sunday night. An extraordinarily high number of security and police presence crowded the entrances, but despite this workers, allies, and community leaders continued the call for dignity and respect.
The Chateau Marmont has been embroiled in controversy amid worker protests, two lawsuits by Black women former workers alleging harassment and discrimination, and a growing boycott backed by prominent Hollywood figures and thought leaders including Gabrielle Union, Issa Rae, Samira Wiley, Robin Thede, Quinta Brunson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Ashley Nicole Black, Adam McKay, David Sirota and the productions Being the Ricardos and The Offer. The boycott has also been backed by Hollywood unions like Writers Guild of America – West, as well as by civil rights organizations like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Southern California.
“It is disappointing and frustrating that Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Zoë Kravitz and other Hollywood elites chose to prioritize their party, and their fame, over real people,” said Keisha Banks, former events server at the Chateau Marmont, “It might just be one party to them but these are people’s livelihoods. They could be using their celebrity to get someone like Andre Balazs to listen to his workers. Why would they want to be associated with a hotel that discriminates and cheats its employees? I am glad for Issa Rae, Gabrielle Union and others who honored the boycott and who have inspired us to continue speaking up until we win the dignity and respect that we deserve.”
UNITE HERE Local 11 appealed to Jay-Z to honor the boycott by choosing another venue for the famed after-party, which Jay-Z hosted jointly with Beyoncé in the past but will host alone this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Jay-Z and ROC Nation did not respond to the Union.
“We hoped that Jay-Z would do the right thing and move his party. He had every opportunity to do so. But he made it clear what side he was on. He was not on the side of workers, of Black women, of justice for working people. The so-called stars skulking into the party was an insult to the brave workers who have risked everything to win respect and dignity at work. This callous disregard is evidence to everyone that neither Jay-Z, Rihanna, Michael B. Jordan, Zoë Kravitz, nor the Chateau Marmont care about anyone or anything except themselves,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
The boycott calls for Chateau Marmont to demonstrate a commitment to respecting its workers’ years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and to ensuring that all workers–regardless of their race, sex, or background–feel treated with dignity and respect.
Among the celebrities who crossed the picket line and went to the Chateau Marmont despite the ongoing boycott were Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Rihanna, Saweetie, Janelle Monáe, Quest Love, DJ Khaled, Zoë Kravitz, Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian and others.