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Iconic Chateau Marmont – frequented by Hollywood's elite – fired nearly all staff over coronavirus

Hollywood celebrity hangout Chateau Marmont has fired nearly all its staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The union representing hospitality workers said the Los Angeles hotel that has long been a well-known haunt for A-list stars has let go almost its entire workforce.

According to a statement released by Unite Here Local 11, Chateau Marmont’s management cited the coronavirus as the reason for letting its employees go.

Workers were told on March 19 they were being terminated due to the economic impact of the virus shutdown, the union said.

Employees at the French-style castle on a hillside towering over Sunset Boulevard did not receive severance payments and their insurance was not extended, Local 11 stated.

The Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood let nearly all its workforce go amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shutdown much of the hospitality industry

The Chateau Marmont Hotel in West Hollywood let nearly all its workforce go amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shutdown much of the hospitality industry 

Celebrity scandals at the infamous Chateau Marmont

Chateau Marmont has been the scene for many celebrity scandals over the years and has become a well-known home for stars’ excess.

Britney Spears had a breakdown in the dinning room in 2007 and was kicked out by the management. 

In 1982, comedian John Belushi overdosed and died at the hotel.

Lindsay Lohan got booted out of the hotel by bosses in July 2012 after racking up a $46,000 tab in two months.

Warren Beatty was said to have ran up unpaid bills pursuing multiple sexual conquests – until he was asked to leave by management.

Anthony Bourdain reportedly drank to excess at the hotel, while Scarlett Johansson and Benicio Del Toro are said to have hooked up in the elevator on Oscar night.

Johnny Depp claimed he and Kate Moss had sex in every one of the Chateau’s 63 rooms and bungalows over the course of their four-year affair. 

According to the hotel’s website, the rack rate for a standard one bedroom suite is $885 a night with the penthouse costing $2,500.

Local 11 said in a statement: ‘The Chateau Marmont has long been associated with fame, glamour and decadence.

‘According to worker reports, two days before sending the email firing employees, hotel management had emailed its hourly employees that while they would temporarily not be scheduled for any hours, they were still active employees of the hotel and could continue to receive insurance coverage by paying their share of premiums. Two days later management fired many if not all of these same employees.

‘The hotel also did not commit to recalling workers according to seniority when the crisis subsides.’

Over the years Chateau Marmont, located just off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, has been the scene of many Hollywood scandals.

It has a long history of celebrities who chose to pursue drinking, drugs, sexual proclivities out of sight.

Britney Spears had a breakdown in the dinning room in 2007 and comedian John Belushi overdosed and died at the establishment in 1982.

Lindsay Lohan got kicked out of the hotel in July 2012 after racking up a $46,000 tab in two months. 

According to the hotel’s website, the rack rate for a standard one bedroom suite is $885 a night with the penthouse costing $2,500.

Walter Almendarez, one of the employees fired on Wednesday, said it was ‘completely unjust’ after he had worked there for more than 20 years. 

He told the union: ‘In the middle of this pandemic, I’m now unemployed and will soon lose health insurance for my entire family. 

Khloe Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner at a Calvin Klein Jeans' event at Chateau Marmont in 2015

Khloe Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner at a Calvin Klein Jeans’ event at Chateau Marmont in 2015

Paris Hilton at Jade Jagger's unveiling of Bevledere's Jagger Dagger at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood in 2008

Paris Hilton at Jade Jagger’s unveiling of Bevledere’s Jagger Dagger at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood in 2008

Singer and actor Justin Timberlake (left) and rapper Jay-Z at GQ's 2011 "Men of the Year" Party held at Chateau Marmont in November 2011

Singer and actor Justin Timberlake (left) and rapper Jay-Z at GQ’s 2011 “Men of the Year” Party held at Chateau Marmont in November 2011

History of the celebrity hotel that was inspired by a French Gothic castle

The French-style castle sits on a hillside towering over Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Built in 1929 as an apartment building, it was inspired by the Chateau d’Amboise in the Loire Valley and took its name from a road named after a silent era British star, Percy Marmont. 

In its early, respectable years, it was heavily patronised by British performers such as Stan Laurel, Laurence Olivier and Gracie Fields.   

Downtown Los Angeles lawyer, Fred Horowitz, had a vision to build his folly after seeing the French Gothic castle built in the eleventh century in the Loire.

He chose the plot of land on Marmont Lane and Sunset Boulevard in 1926 to be turned into an apartment complex, construction began in 1927 and opened in 1929.

Horowitz didn’t see the Great Depression coming and sold it in 1932 to Albert Smith who turned the site into an iconic landmark.

Despite its increasingly dilapidated interior, the hotel was relatively cheap and actors, writers and musicians loved the decadent ambience, and the privacy and seclusion it afforded.

Its tolerant attitude attracted closeted gay or bisexual celebrities as well as those fleeing failed marriages.

Many guests checked in for a few days and stayed for months, sometimes even years. Some had homes in Los Angeles, but still preferred to live at the Marmont. 

‘I’ve worked for the Chateau Marmont for nearly 23 years. It’s completely unjust for the hotel to fire me and my coworkers without anything to keep us on our feet.’ 

The number of staff at the Chateau Marmont affected by this move is not currently known. 

In its statement, Local 11 said it is lobbying the Los Angeles city council to enact policies to protect hospitality worker jobs. 

Former employee Michael Racanelli ‘absolutely shameful’ as the owner of the hotel is ‘worth hundreds of millions of dollars’.

He told the union: ‘It was incredibly devastating to have gone from full time, to temporarily losing my hours but still being eligible for health insurance, to terminated with no health insurance in the midst of a pandemic.

‘It’s absolutely shameful to do this to employees who have given so much of their lives to make a profit for the owner of the hotel, who is already worth hundreds of millions of dollars.’ 

Layoffs and cost-cutting has been sweeping Hollywood as the pandemic has sent many into lockdown, grinding the economy to a halt.

Among the famous scandals at the hotel include Britney Spears having a breakdown in the dinning room and smearing food across her face and body in 2007.

Comedian’s John Belushi’s overdose in 1982 at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont made the establishment a household name.

Following a night partying with friends including fellow guests Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, Belushi, was found dead at the age of 33 after overdosing on a mix of cocaine and heroin.

Warren Beatty was said to have ran up unpaid bills pursuing multiple sexual conquests – until he was asked to leave by management.

Anthony Bourdain reportedly drank to excess at the hotel, while Scarlett Johansson and Benicio Del Toro are said to have hooked up in the elevator on Oscar night, according to the book, The Castle On Sunset, published last year. 

Johnny Depp claimed he and Kate Moss had sex in every one of the Chateau’s 63 rooms and bungalows over the course of their four-year affair. 

The French-style castle sits on a hillside towering over Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Built in 1929 as an apartment building, it was inspired by by a French Gothic castle.

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Written by Angle News

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