Today’s Ankler Hot Seat podcast welcomes guest co-host Sonny Bunch, culture editor of The Bulwark and Washington Post contributing columnist, joining Janice Min and Tatiana Siegel. On today’s episode, Bunch discusses his latest for The Washington Post, “The Oscars are niche entertainment now. Just let Netflix stream them” and the dismal awareness numbers for some of the Best Picture nominated films. The show also tackles China’s decision to not broadcast the Oscars for a second-straight year and why, the puzzle of who is invited to be a presenter on the show, and predictions for Best Picture.
The hosts also tackle the controversy around Jay-Z’s Oscar afterparty, scheduled to be held at Los Angeles’s iconic Chateau Marmont, a hotel whose controversies have drawn a boycott supported by Issa Rae, Jane Fonda, Spike Lee, Amanda Seyfried, David Diggs and Alfonso Cuarón. The Chateau has faced damning accusations in the last few years, ever since they fired nearly their entire staff at the onset of the pandemic without benefits. Female employees have said they were subjected to sexual harassment, including from owner Andre Balazs (which he has denied); darker-skinned employees have said they were subjected to racist remarks and passed over for promotions, with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that the Chateau’s managing director, Amanda Grandinetti, referred to one staff member as a “blackie”, and told another to respond to her with “Yessa, massa.” April Blackwell, a Black Chateau worker, said Grandinetti fired her after she complained about a pattern of racist abuse from guests. She is one of two Black employees currently suing the Chateau. The boycott is also supported by the Writer’s Guild of America, and a picket line is expected on Sunday night.
Keisha Banks, a former Chateau events server, tells The Ankler: “We constantly see Black elites putting their fame and money before their fans. By now, Jay-Z and Beyonce must be aware that Chateau's workers have spoken out about being mistreated. They should be leveraging and moving their dollars elsewhere in solidarity with the people they claim to support and who are calling out for justice. At this point, the news on Chateau is out there, some celebs are willfully choosing to ignore it. The working class is sick of seeing the rich virtue signal.” Chateau Marmont workers and Black clergy leaders are set to hold a press conference and delegation outside ROC Nation in an attempt to make their voices heard and deliver a complaint alleging impending violations of a recently enacted state law protecting workers’ jobs.
Ed note: After this podcast was taped, a press release was sent out announcing that 22-year veteran employee Walter Almendarez, who was laid off by Chateau Marmont in March 2020, would present legal complaints today to the California Labor Commissioner, alleging that both the Chateau Marmont and Jay-Z’s entertainment company ROC Nation are in violation of SB-93, the state return-to-work law, by failing to rehire him and his coworkers in general and specifically for Jay-Z’s party. The complaint alleges that the entities failed to offer guest relations, valet, security, and other work to Almendarez and his colleagues, as last year’s state law requires. Of the 50 workers with the longest tenures at Chateau Marmont prior to the layoffs, approximately 46 were Latinx.
If you aren’t yet a subscriber, we invite you to join the most influential and powerful people in the entertainment industry.
New on The Ankler:
The Oscars "Minefield" About to Happen: A Conversation with Bruce Vilanch. The legendary, long-time Oscar head writer of the stops by our podcast to share his memories and thoughts about what lies ahead.
Are Oscar Films Good Business Strategy? ESG asks the tough question and answers it.
The Decline and Fall of Oscar: A timeline of mishaps, mishegas and the bad choices that have become an annual Academy ritual.
In this week’s Transom: Avatar 2 gets a date with Marvel; COVID stalks the awards circuit.
Executives on the red carpet! 15 photos of Hollywood on the town.
What will be the new accessory on the Oscars red carpet? Supporting Ukraine.
The story that’s got the whole town talking! Read our exclusive scoop on Elisabeth Finch, the Grey’s Anatomy writers’ room and an investigation. Then listen to the new Hot Seat podcast as writer Peter Keifer reveals the details on how he broke the story shaking Shondaland and what happens next.
ESG on Netflix’s Drip Drip Decline.
On The Optionist:
It’s March Madness in the IP world! This week: hot properties about basketball.
The new recommendations are up! What just fell out of option and is ready again? Who doesn’t love an Ivy League scandal?
Subscribe during the free beta period here (it’s almost over!).
FOR GROUP SUBSCRIPTIONS, please email Kymber Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information,
FOR ADVERTISING on The Ankler, The Ankler Hot Seat, The Glossy, or The Optionist, please contact Kymber as well.
Can’t afford The Ankler right now? If you’re an assistant, student or getting your foot in the door of this industry, and want help navigating the craziness of this business but don’t have money to spare right now, drop me a line at email@example.com and we’ll work it out. No mogul or mogul-to-be left behind at The Ankler.
The Ankler is an independent voice covering Hollywood. If you’re a subscriber, feel free to share this edition with a friend but just a couple, please. The Ankler depends on its paid subscribers.