Legendary actress, producer and activist Jane Fonda has responded to a call for support by vowing to not return to the Chateau Marmont until it has addressed concerns raised by the hotel’s workers and UNITE HERE Local 11.
Last March, the Chateau Marmont management fired virtually its entire workforce, leaving workers who had dedicated decades of their lives to the hotel without job security or affordable healthcare during the pandemic. In response, Chateau workers successfully organized to help win a path-breaking city law to ensure that hospitality workers can return to their jobs as the crisis subsides. Many of the hotel’s workers have since spoken out about their experiences working at the hotel, including on issues of disrespect, mistreatment, and a racially stratified workplace.
Last week, a former events server, Thomasina Gross, filed a lawsuit alleging that she experienced both race discrimination and sexual harassment while working at the Chateau. As alleged in the complaint, the Chateau has a racially stratified workforce where the most desirable jobs tend to be filled by white workers or light-skinned people of color who fit the Chateau’s “look,” while less desirable jobs tend to be filled by workers of color. Ms. Gross, who is African-American, alleges she repeatedly sought promotions to better paid and more stable positions for which she was qualified, but she was overlooked in favor of white employees. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that in the Chateau’s “anything goes” party atmosphere, guests—especially when drunk or under the influence of other substances—touched Ms. Gross without her consent.
The Chateau’s workers have turned to allies in Hollywood for help and found it with the support of Ms. Fonda, who has joined others in pledging to not return to the Chateau Marmont until “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.”
SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and the Hollywood chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) have also spoken out in support of Ms. Gross and the Chateau workers’ campaign for justice.
UNITE HERE Local 11 is the union of more than 32,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas & convention centers in Southern California & Arizona.