On the eve of Oscars weekend, a picket line formed outside the Chateau Marmont, the prominent after-party locale where Jay-Z and Beyoncé held post-Oscars bashes for years, to host an alternate awards show. The group stood around a long red carpet, decked out with balloons, to nominate the classic Hollywood hangout for “worst performance.” It won—there were no other nominees.
The Friday night ceremony marked more than a year of a widely publicized boycott against the hotel, after it fired nearly 250 employees last March. Just weeks before the firings, hotel workers had been starting to form a union, but no protections were in place. The layoffs left almost the entirety of the Chateau’s staff—some of whom had worked there for decades—to weather a deadly pandemic without income, severance, or health care.
Marta Moran, a 56-year-old housekeeper at the hotel, took public transportation two hours every day to get to work for 33 years. Moran told The Daily Beast that the layoffs cut her off from health insurance, endangering her access to life-saving diabetes medication. Carlos Barrera, who spent 40 of his 62 years working for the hotel, said he was forced to move in with his two sons not long after he was let go. He took a part-time job at Pizza Hut, but his savings will run out not long after the Oscars. Both hope their seniority will mean something when the hotel reopens, but Alejandro Roldan, who worked in housekeeping for four years, told The Daily Beast that management already made clear it would not.