BOYCOTT CHATEAU MARMONT
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. In response, the Chateau workers successfully organized to help win a path-breaking city law to ensure that hospitality workers can to return to their jobs as the crisis subsides without fear of favoritism or discrimination. Many of the hotel’s workers have since spoken out about abuses they experienced working at the hotel, including disrespect, mistreatment, and a racially stratified workplace. Please see the articles below for more information.
Now the Chateau Marmont’s workers are asking for your support.
PLEASE SIGN THE BOYCOTT PLEDGE :
By signing this pledge, I vow to only return to the Chateau Marmont when the hotel has demonstrated 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.
Entities tied to Chateau and Hilton operator Westmont Hospitality Group received millions in federal PPP money intended to bring back workers
LOS ANGELES–Joined by State Senator Maria Elena Durazo and allies, veteran Latinx workers from Hollywood’s famous Chateau Marmont rallied and presented legal complaints yesterday alleging that their employer violated SB-93, the state return-to-work law, by failing to rehire them in order of their seniority and, in one case, that the Chateau Marmont also violated California anti-discrimination law.
Another worker who worked as a housekeeping inspector at the Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites for almost 30 years also filed a SB-93 complaint yesterday against the operator of her hotel, Westmont Hospitality Group.
Before they were laid off at the start of the pandemic, alongside more than 200 of their coworkers, Martha Moran worked as a housekeeper for more than 33 years and Jesus Moreno worked as a gardener for nearly 20 years at the Chateau Marmont. Yet they both allege that since SB-93 went into effect, Chateau Marmont has unlawfully contracted out room cleaning and gardening work to brand-new agency workers without first offering Moran or Moreno those open positions, as the new state law requires. Of the 50 workers with the longest tenures at Chateau Marmont prior to the layoffs, approximately 46 were Latinx.
“In February, Chateau managers called me to a meeting and told me I was going back to work in a few weeks. But nothing happened. Two weeks ago, Chateau managers called me for another meeting and again they told me I would be going back to work in a few weeks. But I have no reason to believe them this time. I feel like management at Chateau Marmont aren’t respecting my seniority or my humanity, and I say it’s unfair,” said Moran, who had worked as a housekeeper at Chateau Marmont since 1986.
In a letter to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, veteran Chateau Marmont employee Jesus Moreno alleged that shortly after the pandemic layoffs, the hotel rehired a less experienced gardener who was white, U.S.-born, and significantly younger than Moreno, who is a 58-year-old Latino man from Mexico. Moreno alleges that he was discriminated against in rehiring at least in part because of his race, national origin, and age.
“Latinos like Martha and me have the most seniority in almost every department in the hotel, but most of us still haven’t been called us back to our jobs,” said Moreno. “We’ve worked here longer than almost everyone, and we deserve to be respected.”
Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites worker Elba Hernandez also filed a claim yesterday under SB-93. She alleges that she lost wages and benefits because the hotel failed to offer her positions for which she was qualified and had the most seniority. Instead, she claims the hotel hired an employee with no prior experience there to perform her work. While Hernandez has returned to work part-time, the company has still not returned her to the full-time position inspecting rooms she previously performed for nearly three decades.
Entities tied to both Chateau Marmont and Hilton Santa Monica have received millions from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a program intended to help small businesses retain workers. Chateau Marmont received a $1.95 million PPP loan in February 2021, while affiliates of Westmont Hospitality Group received $34 million from the PPP. UNITE HERE Local 11 has asked the Small Business Administration to investigate whether these funds have been spent on payroll costs as intended by Congress, and whether Westmont exceeded the SBA’s PPP limit of $20 million per corporate group.
In April 2021, Senator Maria Elena Durazo led the state Senate and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and Assemblyman Ash Kalra led the Assembly to pass SB-93 to protect the jobs of hospitality workers who were laid off during the pandemic. The law aims to protect some of the most veteran and vulnerable workers of color in the hospitality and building services industries by establishing a legal right to return to jobs that many have held for years. As a result of the law, more than 700,000 hotel, event center, airport concession, and building services workers in California now have the right to return to their jobs as the pandemic subsides.
“When we passed SB-93 earlier this year, experiences like what Jesus and Martha describe were central to the legislative debate,” said Senator Maria Elena Durazo (SD 24) standing with the workers outside the Chateau Marmont along with student and community allies, Reverend Walter Contreras of the Black-Brown Clergy Committee, and Reverend Gary Williams of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and a board member of CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “Now, laid-off workers have the right to return to their pre-pandemic jobs and we expect this hotel—and every affected employer in the state—to respect that right. I am proud to join these brave workers standing up to demand that SB-93 is followed and enforced.”
U.S Senator Alex Padilla Announces Support for Workers Boycotting Chateau Marmont
Hollywood Hotel Faces Lawsuits Alleging Sexual Harassment and Race Discrimination by Former Employees
Los Angeles, CA: U.S Senator Alex Padilla (CA) has become the first United States Senator to announce his support for the workers behind the growing boycott of the famed Chateau Marmont.
“As the son of a cook and UNITE HERE Local 11 member, I witnessed firsthand how hard my parents had to work to get ahead. Hospitality workers like those at the Chateau Marmont are the backbone of our state’s economy. I stand alongside the workers as they fight for the dignity and respect they deserve,” said U.S Senator Alex Padilla.
The boycott was launched by workers, UNITE HERE Local 11 and community allies. The boycott calls on the hotel to demonstrate a commitment to respecting workers’ years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and ensuring that all workers—regardless of their race, sex, or background—feel treated with dignity and respect. In May, the California Democratic Party voted to boycott the Chateau Marmont at their annual convention.
After the Chateau Marmont fired over 200 workers in March 2020 because of the pandemic, multiple workers came forward to share experiences of mistreatment, abuse, and a racially stratified workplace.
“As a Latino cook in the back of the house I felt like it was nearly impossible for me or my coworkers to aspire to higher-paid positions. The better paid positions usually went to people that did not look like me.” said Pedro Diaz, cook for 16 years at the Chateau Marmont. “I felt invisible.”
Former workers Thomasina Gross and April Blackwell, both African American women, have spoken out and filed discrimination lawsuits against the Chateau Marmont. The company has since forced their cases into a secretive private arbitration system. They have called on the company to allow their cases to proceed in the public court system and more broadly called for a more fair and equitable workplace.
“I want hotel management to understand that it’s not acceptable to let their workers be harassed and threatened by guests,” said April Blackwell, former night auditor.
The boycott has also garnered support from those in Hollywood like Jane Fonda, Aaron Sorkin, and Spike Lee. In late August, Paramount Plus pulled filming of its miniseries The Offer to stand with workers and most recently multiple Emmy-nominees Issa Rae, Robin Thede, and Samira Wiley also pledged to boycott.
Series starring Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Justin Chambers and Colin Hanks is second film shoot this year to cancel business with controversial hotel
Los Angeles, CA: Paramount Plus’s miniseries The Offer, inspired by the making of The Godfather, has pulled a film shoot from the Chateau Marmont in response to the escalating boycott of the hotel.
According to sources, the series starring Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Justin Chambers and Colin Hanks was scheduled to film at the Chateau Marmont on August 25-27, but the shoot was cancelled after the production learned of the labor dispute.
The miniseries is the second production this year to choose to stand with the workers and honor the boycott. In April Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos pulled out from the film at the Chateau Marmont. Other boycott signatories include Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Sheen, Matthew Weiner, Steven Van Zandt and Spike Lee.
The boycott campaign is calling on the hotel 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. It was launched in February 2021 by former Chateau Marmont workers, UNITE HERE Local 11, and community allies.
In March of 2020, the hotel fired over 200 of its workers, leaving them without job security or affordable healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, including issues of disrespect, mistreatment, and a racially stratified workplace. Earlier this year, two black women workers, Thommi Gross and April Blackwell, filed pending lawsuits alleging they experienced racial discrimination while working at the Chateau Marmont.
“We applaud Paramount Plus’s decision to honor the boycott of the Chateau Marmont. We thank all the Hollywood unions — SAG AFTRA, IATSE, Teamsters. WGA and DGA — for supporting these courageous workers who have spoken out for dignity and respect,” said Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the union supporting the Chateau Marmont workers.
“Worker solidarity extends across all Industries. An injury to one is an injury to all. As we see the workers at Chateau Marmont fighting for dignity, respect and safety in the workplace, we will continue to encourage Hollywood productions and our members to honor the current boycott. We stand in solidarity with all current and past employees of the Chateau Marmont.” said Lindsay Dougherty, Recording Secretary & Organizer Teamsters Local 399 .
This Wednesday, August 25, as part of the 58th anniversary of the March on Washington, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) plans to hold a conversation about racial equity in the hospitality industry outside of the Chateau Marmont.
Writers Guild of America West Joins Call for Boycott of Famed Chateau Marmont
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Writers Guild of America West, the union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming, has joined the growing boycott of the Chateau Marmont.
“We believe it should be a given that every member of our community be afforded the respect and job security they deserve,” said WGAW President David A. Goodman, “which is why the Writers Guild of America West stands in solidarity with the workers at the Chateau Marmont, and their fight for a fair workplace.”
The boycott was first launched by laid-off Chateau Marmont workers asking to be rehired in accordance with their legal rights and to be treated with respect. They boycott has won the support of Hollywood leaders like Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and others.
“We are grateful for the Writers Guild of America’s solidarity for the Chateau Marmont workers,” said UNITE HERE Local 11 Co-President Kurt Petersen. “All workers—from those who write inspiring and entertaining stories for film and television to those who have built and sustain our tourism industry—deserve workplaces where they are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, sex, and background. The Guild’s stand moves the Chateau Marmont workers one step closer.”
The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) is a labor union representing over 10,000 writers of motion pictures, television, radio, and internet programming.
For two decades, Keisha Banks had worked on and off in the hospitality industry — until last year, when she was unceremoniously let go from her job as an event server at the Chateau Marmont via a mass email sent in March 2020 to employees of the iconic Hollywood hotel.
“When you work at Chateau, one of the things they say is, ‘We’re all like family here,’” Banks said. “And then to get this really blunt, ‘You’re cut off’ email was bad.”
It was the first in a streak of unfortunate events that has upended her life and the lives of many others like her.
California Democrats Endorse Growing Boycott of Chateau Marmont Hotel
The state party acts following second racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a Black former worker
Los Angeles, CA: The California Democratic Party endorsed the highly publicized boycott of the Chateau Marmont in a resolution passed Sunday at the party’s convention.
“I am so proud of our state’s Democratic leadership,” said Ada Briceño, chair of the Orange County Democratic Party and co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11. “Mistreatment in the workplace directly conflicts with our Party’s values, and we will not stand for it. The California Democratic Party will continue to lead by taking bold stances on issues that directly impact working families.”
Earlier last week, a second former worker filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Chateau Marmont alleging a racially hostile work environment. April Blackwell, a Black woman, alleged she experienced unsafe working conditions while on overnight shifts at the Chateau Marmont. This January, former events server Thomasina Gross filed a lawsuit against the hotel alleging she also experienced race discrimination and sexual harassment while working at the hotel.
The California Democratic Party has a history of supporting workers who drive the state’s massive and lucrative tourism industry. At its 2019 convention, the party endorsed the boycott of the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, which is ongoing. Two weeks ago, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the first statewide law in the nation granting a right to return to work for people laid off from jobs in hospitality, one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Hospitality workers like those fired from Chateau Marmont are the backbone of our state’s economy. Their willingness to come forward and speak out takes real courage and we are proud to stand in solidarity with them,” said Rusty Hicks, Chair of the California Democratic Party.
“For too long, corporations have gotten rich at the expense of Black and Brown workers. Many of them are immigrant women of color like Martha Moran who for 33 years cleaned the rooms of the rich and famous that stayed at LA’s Chateau Marmont. It’s time that we hold greedy employers like Chateau Marmont accountable ” said Betty Yee, Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party.
“When the Chateau Marmont fired me, I turned around and went to Arizona to knock on doors for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris because I saw how much this country needed a change. Political power can and should build up working people, and the California Democratic Party proved that again today,” said Jordan Mueck, who worked at Chateau Marmont as an events server for over 2 years.
It has been over a year since the Chateau Marmont fired more than 200 of its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel without job security or company-provided healthcare. Since then, many of the hotel’s workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, prompting concern from community leaders and the call for a boycott until the hotel demonstrates a commitment to respecting workers years of service by rehiring them in accordance with their legal rights and ensuring that all workers—regardless of their race, sex, or background—feel treated with dignity and respect.
PRESS CONTACT: For lawsuit questions – Lauren Teukolsky | Lauren@teuklaw.com| 323-573-2378
UNITE HERE Local 11 – Maria Hernandez | email@example.com | 623-340-8047
Former Worker Files Race Discrimination and Workplace Safety Lawsuit Against Chateau Marmont
The lawsuit, the second this year against the famed hotel, comes days after Aaron Sorkin pulled filming of “Being the Ricardos” from the property, honoring a growing boycott
Los Angeles, CA: Following a weekend of protests drawing attention to the growing boycott at the Oscars-season hot spot Chateau Marmont, another Black worker has filed a lawsuit against the Chateau Marmont alleging race discrimination.
“This is the second race discrimination lawsuit filed against the Chateau Marmont by a Black woman in the span of four months. This suggests that these were not isolated incidents, but instead part of a larger pattern or practice of discrimination at the Chateau,”stated Lauren Teukolsky, an attorney who represents Ms. Blackwell, as well as another worker who has filed suit against the hotel, Thomasina Gross.
April Blackwell, a Black woman, alleges in her lawsuit that she experienced a racially hostile work environment and unsafe working conditions at the Chateau. Her lawsuit alleges that, as the only overnight front desk agent working in the Chateau’s drug and alcohol-fueled “anything goes” environment, she was subjected to racist and sexist harassment by guests while performing her job. Ms. Blackwell alleges that when she reported abusive and threatening guest conduct to managers, they took little corrective action. In December 2019, the hotel disciplined and terminated her after a particularly egregious episode of guest harassment.
“I know that people who are not Black have not had to go through the things we have had to go through as Black people and Black workers. That is why I am here today: because I want accountability. I want Chateau to understand that they did things they should not have done. I want Chateau to understand that it’s not acceptable to let their workers be harassed and threatened by guests,” said plaintiff April Blackwell, who worked at Chateau Marmont as an overnight front desk agent.
In January, former events server Thomasina Gross filed a lawsuit against the hotel alleging that she also experienced race discrimination and sexual harassment while working at the hotel.
The latest lawsuit comes several days after Oscar-nominated director Aaron Sorkin honored workers’ call for a boycott of the Chateau Marmont by pulling the production of Being the Ricardos from the hotel.
A growing number of celebrities have endorsed the boycott, including Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Martin Sheen, Tom Morello, Edie Falco, Lena Headey, Constance Zimmer, Nikki Bilderback, Thomas Sadoski, Joshua Oppenhimer, Eliza Dushku, Amanda Seyfried, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Silverman, Daveed Diggs, and Alison Pill. Organizations such as SAG-AFTRA have also voiced their support for the workers.
“Black leaders and organizers have forced all of us to confront and fight to end our society’s systemic racism. The hotel industry profits from racist employment practices. Hotels employ few Black workers. And when they do, Black workers often work in out of sight positions such as PBX operators or overnight auditors who do their work in a closet behind the front desk,” said Kurt Petersen, Co-President of UNITE HERE Local 11.
Chateau Marmont workers have asked the public to boycott the hotel until it demonstrates a commitment to respecting their 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.
“What April Blackwell has described having to endure working overnight at this hotel shocks the conscience. It has no place in our community. It has no place in 2021. It is about time we put an end, once and for all, to this kind of outrageous treatment of workers.” said Reverend Kelvin Sauls, Clergy for Black Lives.
It has been over a year since the Chateau Marmont fired more than 200 of its workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel without job security or company-provided healthcare. Since then, many of the hotel’s workers have spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, prompting concern from community leaders and the call for a boycott.
April Blackwell is represented in her lawsuit by Lauren Teukolsky of Teukolsky Law, APC, Jeremy Blasi, and Zoe Tucker.
Hollywood is the oxygen that feeds the Chateau and its owner, Adre Balazs. But Hollywood stands with the fired workers, and has left the Chateau Marmont. They heard about this fight and they said: “ADIOS CHATEAU MARMONT!”