After businesses in Los Angeles began closing down in the wake of citywide shutdowns resulting from the covid-19 outbreak, the Chateau Marmont, an establishment I am familiar with mostly because of its background presence in the early-aughts rompings of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and crew, let go of pretty much their entire staff of almost 250.
In response to the layoffs, and ostensibly in an effort to provide financial support to the staff during a difficult time, Chateau Marmont owner André Balazs set up the Chateau Family Fund through a Go Fund Me account as a means to this end. It was certainly a well-intentioned effort, and Balazs himself even put up $100,000 of his own money as a starting off point. However, according to Page Six, over a month later the Chateau Marmont staff has yet to see any of that money.
The staff, who were let go without insurance or severance are, understandably, upset. As of today, the Go Fund Me has raised over $166,000 which, when coupled with sales from the Chateau Marmont’s online store, brings the Chateau Family Fund’s total closer to $300,000.
Were it my job to provide quick and efficient service to wealthy patrons, I too would be upset to find my employer slow to distribute funds raised on my behalf in a time of need. Especially when there are rumors that some of those employees might be called back to work without having seen any of those relief funds in the interim, as the hotel is apparently already looking to reopen its doors.
According to a spokesperson who talked to Page Six, relief funds will start to be distributed soon, “On Monday, the Chateau Marmont will begin distribution of the Chateau Family Fund,” they said, “All employees will receive equitably divided financial support based on seniority, ranging from $350 to over $5,000.” Of course, with rent already having needed to be paid for many, and with payouts as low as $350, it really seems like this money is too little too late.