Golden Globes: Beverly Hilton Mum on Shuttlegate as Insiders Seek Change

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No response has yet been given for transportation delays on Sunday night that kept some would-be revelers waiting nearly three hours.

In light of the Golden Globe afterparty debacle where more than a thousand guests were stranded for hours in a Century City parking garage, there’s a question as to whether the awards show, or its popular afterparties, should remain at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which has hosted the awards since 1961.

Because of added security and construction on various projects in the area, including the $200 million, 12-story Waldorf-Astoria hotel/condo in the space that once housed Trader Vic's (part of current Hilton owner Beny Alagem’s rebuilding plans), some guests were upwards of three hours late getting to the five of six afterparties that have become an integral part of the evening. (Only the Fox party was exempt as the studio and its party subsidiaries invited guests to park in a garage adjacent to the studio lot in Century City and use Fox-provided shuttles).

The Hollywood Reporter has fielded countless tales of transportation woes from many of the stranded guests, which included entire casts of TV shows, bands, agents, managers, producers and press. The scene proved to be a surreal one with many of the well-dressed would-be revelers removing jackets and stilettos, some yelling and demanding answers from security personnel. One prominent indie actress was seen crying, while other TV stars (and impatient power players) pushed their way to the front of the line for priority boarding. One barefoot attendee who waited two and a half hours tells THR: "It was a f—ing nightmare!"

THR reached out to every studio and network that hosted events following the Golden Globes — Fox, The Weinstein Co., Netflix, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. (with InStyle), HBO and Amazon — and each entity declined comment or did not return a request for comment through a corporate spokesperson. Some insiders relayed their reasoning for not going on record was that they "have to work with the Hilton in the future."

As for the Beverly Hilton, spokesperson Lauren Green said: “We don’t have a statement at this time. We'll get back to you when we do.”

Several insiders noted that there are legal issues in play that are causing a delay in Hilton's response over what went wrong. 

There were stern warnings that went with invites this year that all guests had to park in the off-site garage at 1999 Avenue of the Stars, where they would pick up tickets, go through security and be shuttled to the Hilton. This was the plan insisted upon by the hotel, sources indicate. But there wasn’t enough staff, metal detectors, heat lamps and most of all Hilton-provided 24-person shuttles to accomplish the job. (To add a touch of the absurd: The driver of the first shuttle leaving at 8:15 p.m. didn’t know the one-mile route to the Hilton, according to a passenger.) 


This photo, sent in by an anonymous tipster, shows the lines of potential party guests waiting for shuttles to attend post-Golden Globes bashes at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 10. 

The estimated cost of the in-hotel afterparties is well over $2 million, with most of that money going to the Hilton for space rental and catering. And the Hilton doesn’t provide anyone with bargains. Even dating back to the days when Merv Griffin owned the hotel, they made it a point to charge top dollar for the Globe night catering. And all in-house parties must use the hotel’s kitchen. As an example, in its 2014 tax return, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association lists $374,467 as the cost of the banquet and use of the ballroom. “We’re upset and our guests are irate,” said one studio’s event planner. “I want an explanation and I want a refund.” Said another exec: “The Hilton should listen to people who have experience doing events because they clearly don’t know how to do them.”


This photo, sent in by an anonymous tipster, shows the lines of potential party guests waiting for shuttles to attend post-Golden Globes bashes at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 10. 
 
As for the show itself, the hotel’s International Ballroom works well for the Globes dinner and there’s a question of what space could accommodate both the show and the afterparties. (The HFPA does not have a multi-ear contract with the Hilton and could potentially leave, or any number of the multiple post-show events could post up elsewhere.) 

The Dolby Theater where the Oscars are held is ruled out because the Motion Picture Academy has veto power over what award shows can be held there. The Marriott in downtown L.A. has the capacity, but Hollywood enjoys an event that’s on the Westside. The Century Plaza in Century City has an even larger ballroom than the Hilton, but its ability to adapt other spaces for the afterparties is unknown. Even using studio sound stages has been put forward as an idea. But since the Waldorf-Astoria is set for completion sometime in 2017, there needs to be a solution before next year’s Globes, insiders caution.


This photo, sent in by an anonymous tipster, shows the lines of potential party guests waiting for shuttles to attend post-Golden Globes bashes at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 10. 

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