When you think of Hollywood, you think of the Hollywood sign, the Universal Studios backlot, the TCL Chinese Theater, and of course, the Chateau Marmont. Now almost a century old, the iconic building on Sunset Boulevard has been one of the most iconic hotels in Tinseltown and its list of guests over the years includes some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry.
However, over the last few years, the public perception of the Chateau Marmont has altered drastically due to an ongoing boycott of the property and its management. So, why are Hollywood's A-listers turning their back on the historic hotel? And what does Jay-Z have to do with the controversy? Keep reading to find out all the details.
Why is the Chateau Marmont being boycotted?
After decades of being Hollywood's go-to hotel for the stars, the Chateau Marmont's image has been tarnished by a number of troubling allegations that include sexual harassment, racial discrimination, self-dealing, and financial mismanagement.
In September 2020, The Hollywood Reporter published a scathing exposé supported by interviews with over 30 former employees. They explained that the hotel lacked a human resources department and had an inefficient management structure, which led to inadequate support when it came to employee complaints, including those of sexual harassment.
The complaints that focused specifically on owner André Balazs are particularly damning. The celebrity hotelier, who also owns the famous Mercer Hotel in New York City, was accused of sexual misconduct towards his employees in 2017, per The New York Times. The onslaught of negative publicity he received forced him to step down as CEO of the Standard Hotel Group, which he founded in 1998.
The negative publicity did little to slow André down. According to The Hollywood Reporter's 2020 exposé, former staffers claimed that André regularly used illegal drugs out in the open, had liquor ordered for himself and his friends past the state's 2 a.m. liquor sale curfew, and engaged in "erratic, rageful, and impulsive behavior directed at low-level staff as well as managers."
Five different employees also alleged that André groped them during their time at the Chateau Marmont. In a statement to the publication, André said, "This collection of allegations of supposed personal misconduct on my part is simply false."
Jay-Z is under fire for planning to host his 2022 Oscars after-party at the Chateau Marmont.
Despite the ongoing boycott of the hotel (which has garnered the support of some huge Hollywood stars), Jay-Z is reportedly still planning to throw his Oscars after-party at the Chateau Marmont.
Since 2018, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's annual, ultra-exclusive Oscars after-party has been the most coveted invite of Hollywood's biggest night. But in the wake of the ongoing boycott of the hotel by Hollywood unions and A-listers like Spike Lee and Issa Rae, plans for this year's party have drawn considerable backlash.
Kurt Petersen, co-president of UNITE HERE Local 11, the group organizing the boycott, told The Hollywood Reporter, "For Jay-Z to choose the Chateau Marmont for their Gold Party is shockingly insensitive."
He added, "They must move their event and choose an after-party hot spot that treats its workers, especially Black women, with dignity and respect. Jay-Z has a responsibility to do better."
As a further show of solidarity with the workers boycotting Chateau Marmont, UNITE HERE Local 11 is organizing a picket line outside of the party that is set to begin around 8 p.m. on March 27, 2022. Representatives for Jay-Z and Chateau Marmont have not issued any statements about the boycott or the upcoming party.