Los Angeles cuts utilities at influencer's house after large parties amid Covid-19 pandemic

LOS ANGELES (NYTIMES) – The city of Los Angeles cut the power at a Hollywood Hills mansion rented by TikTok stars Bryce Hall, Noah Beck and Blake Gray on Wednesday (Aug 19) in response to parties held at the residence amid the coronavirus crisis.

Hall hosted a party for his 21st birthday last Friday; footage from the event posted to Instagram shows dozens of attendees crowded together in one room. After neighbours called in noise complaints, the event was shut down by the Los Angeles Police Department.

That party took place at a rental home in Encino, not the Hollywood Hills home where the power was turned off on Wednesday, though Hall has hosted parties there, too. He declined to comment for this article.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles mayor’s office confirmed that the city had cut the power at Hall’s residence. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that the city had been authorised to disconnect utilities, which include water and gas.

“Despite several warnings, this house has turned into a nightclub in the hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders,” Mr Garcetti said in the statement. “The city has now disconnected utilities at this home to stop these parties that endanger our community.”

On Aug 4, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a warning about large parties during the virus outbreak.

“The highest-risk settings are large in-person gatherings where it is difficult for individuals to remain spaced at least 6 feet (1.8m) apart and where face coverings are not worn,” the statement said. “The consequences of these large parties ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread.”

The next day, Mr Garcetti announced that the city would be shutting off the utilities at any address found to be hosting large gatherings.

In his previous home, the Sway House, in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, Hall and his housemates received noise complaints from neighbours after hosting several events early on in the pandemic.

That was before the region had an increase in coronavirus cases, leading to rising deaths and hospitalisations. Last month, California surpassed New York in terms of known cases.

Still, several Gen Z influencers have been criticised for their disregard of warnings from public health officials in favour of partying.

In July, the Hype House, another influencer mansion in the Hollywood Hills, hosted a party with around 70 attendees and hundreds more outside waiting to get in.

YouTuber Jake Paul hosted a large, crowded party at his home in Calabasas in July.

Other TikTok influencer houses, including the Clubhouse and Not a Content House, have hosted events this month.

YouTuber Tyler Oakley has been an outspoken critic of the parties. On Saturday, he tagged Hall in a tweet.

“hi @BryceHall @jadenhossler @BlakeGray @JoshRichards & others who have been partying with large groups – please consider social distancing, mask wearing, & using your huge platforms to encourage responsibility during a worldwide pandemic,” he wrote, linking to a thread of videos from Hall’s 21st birthday party. Oakley described the footage as “disgusting”.

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