10:00am PT by Chris Gardner
La Scala Facing More Backlash After That Controversial NYE Invite
Tongues are still wagging about industry staple La Scala. The Beverly Hills restaurant found itself at the center of a debacle after slipping discreet invitations into takeout orders that invited patrons to a Prohibition-themed speakeasy on New Year's Eve.
“Inside,” boasted the invite, which immediately caught fire online amid the city of Los Angeles facing record COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations and with indoor dining still not allowed per the Department of Public Health. Following a public outcry and a stern statement from the city of Beverly Hills, La Scala walked back the invites and addressed the “negative backlash” in a lengthy Instagram post.
Management blamed an unnamed staffer who tried to “add some levity and said inside instead of outside. It didn’t come out as intended.” They meant no harm, the post continued, along with an apology as well as a missive to the city’s spokesperson: “For the Public Information Officer of the City of Beverly Hills to release statements without talking to management is shameful.”
Beverly Hills rep Keith Sterling declined to respond to the statement, telling THR only that once they were made aware of the situation, the city’s code enforcement team reached out to confirm L.A. County’s public health order and its restrictions. A rep for L.A. County did not respond to THR’s request for comment on the matter.
Still, La Scala’s apology and explanation wasn’t enough to satisfy residents and customers who flooded the Instagram account with comments on previous posts. La Scala then disabled all comments on all of its posts, dating back to 2013. A call to La Scala's corporate office was not returned as of press time.
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.