Jay-Z has received plenty of criticism for his capitalistic stances in the past few years, and this week, he’s catching flak for crossing a union picket line with his upcoming Oscars afterparty, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The venue for the party is the hotel Chateau Marmont, to which the party returns after a lavish event in 2020, before pandemic-related lockdowns over safety concerns. However, the hotel is currently the site of a boycott by the hotel workers’ union over the mistreatment of staff, leaving Jay-Z’s party caught between a venue booked months in advance and workers fighting for their rights.
The union claims racial discrimination and sexual harassment against the hotel’s management and a growing roster of celebrities has spoken out in support of the boycott, including Quinta Brunson, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay, Spike Lee, Issa Rae, Robin Thede, and Gabrielle Union. The co-president of Unite Here Local 11, Kurt Petersen, said in a statement to THR, “For Jay-Z to choose the Chateau Marmont for their Gold Party is shockingly insensitive. They must move their event and choose an afterparty hot spot that treats its workers, especially Black women, with dignity and respect. Jay-Z has a responsibility to do better.”
A picket line will begin the same night of the Oscars at 8 pm to draw attention to the boycott, which centers around former employee Thomasina Gross, who sued the hotel, saying she was sexually harassed and passed over for promotions in favor of white people, who she then had to train. In her own statement, she said, “I’m a huge fan of Beyoncé and Jay-Z, so working at their Gold Party year after year was such an honor and pleasure. They made it a point to acknowledge our hard work and treated us like human beings, not just servers. They said our presence meant a lot to them in terms of helping their party be a success. … I can’t help but think if Jay-Z knew how Chateau treats their workers, they wouldn’t ignore this fact and continue to throw parties there.”
Meanwhile, the Oscars proper face their own protest during the show on behalf of several technical awards being cut from the broadcast.