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California Democrats voted to formally boycott the Chateau Marmont at the state party’s annual convention May 2. The move comes as the famed L.A. hotel, which has spent the past year responding to accusations of worker mistreatment — including systemic racial discrimination and pervasive sexual harassment, as well as unjust labor practices following the onset of the pandemic — faces increasing ostracization from a key demographic: celebrities, who have signed a blackballing pledge.
The party resolution encourages Democrats not to do business at the Chateau “until such time 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.” Previously, California Democrats voted in 2019 to boycott the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, which had been accused of wage theft and a pattern of sexual harassment.
The Chateau (owned by André Balazs, who himself has been the subject of complaints of racist hiring preferences and employee groping, all of which he’s denied) blamed the action on the politically connected hospitality union Unite Here Local 11. The labor group, which had sought to organize the hotel’s workers prior to COVID-19’s industrywide lockdown restrictions, has funded multiple civil lawsuits filed in recent months by former employees alleging racial discrimination and launched a petition that’s since drawn high-profile Hollywood supporters, including Jane Fonda, Alfonso Cuarón, Edie Falco, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman and Daveed Diggs.
“By pushing for this unnecessary resolution, the leadership at Unite Here Local 11 has once again proved they are far more interested in harming non-union workers than in helping their own members,” a hotel spokesperson said in a statement. “The Chateau has already rehired numerous workers in accordance with the City of Los Angeles right-to-recall law and will continue to comply with all state and local laws. This is just more of Unite Here Local 11 jeopardizing the livelihoods of dozens of our hard-working employees whose only crime is working through a pandemic to feed their families.”
Ada Briceno, co-president of Local 11 and chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, responded: “I was proud to author this resolution at the convention, but it had more than two-dozen co-signers and required the ratification of the party’s many delegates. This boycott is really important to Democrats: We want to make sure that workers are free from sexual harassment and racial discrimination, and that they have jobs of dignity.”
Previously, other local officials, including State Sen. Ben Allen, whose district includes the Chateau, had announced they would refrain from visiting or staying at the hotel for the time being. The National Organization for Women’s Hollywood chapter has also called for a boycott.
On April 22, as Local 11 led a picket outside of the Chateau, Aaron Sorkin canceled his Being the Ricardos film shoot, which had been scheduled for later that day. Todd Black, one of the film’s producers, acknowledged the decision was related to “the mistreatment of [Chateau] workers.” SAG-AFTRA head Gabrielle Carteris had previously aligned her organization in solidarity with the boycott, noting her membership often sustains itself with hospitality gigs.
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