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23:50, 17 December 2017

For Hotel Workers, Weinstein Allegations Place a Spotlight on Harassment

For Hotel Workers, Weinstein Allegations Place a Spotlight on Harassment

For Hotel Workers, Weinstein Allegations Place a Spotlight on Harassment


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — At a higher-walled hotel here with celebrity clients, a housekeeper was turning down the sheets for a V.I.P. guest one particular evening when she stated the guest offered her income for a massage. She refused and told a supervisor. Nonetheless, the subsequent day, she stated she returned to clean the very same suite, where she located an open briefcase with money inside.

Last year, one more housekeeper referred to as the hotel workplace from a guest’s darkened space to say she felt uncomfortable. A second housekeeper was sent to the space as backup, and when she arrived, the guest grabbed her by the shoulders and groped her breasts, according to a police report and a particular person familiar with the case.

The hotel, the Peninsula Beverly Hills, has attracted focus beyond its usual circle of properly-heeled patrons since several actresses, including Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow, accused Harvey Weinstein of employing the cover of function meetings there to sexually harass them.

For workers of the Peninsula and other hotels, these allegations point to the mistreatment females endure alone in suites all the time. There is no evidence Mr. Weinstein abused hotel workers. But workers say hotels as well frequently put discretion and deference to potent clients ahead of the well-getting of women who work there, a claim that is catching hold in an industry under mounting pressure to safeguard workers.

Housekeepers in Chicago lately seized on the Weinstein allegations to celebrate passage of a City Council bill that will need hotels to supply them with panic buttons so they can summon support. Seattle has a similar measure, and New York City’s largest hotel operators agreed in 2012 to supply unionized workers with panic buttons soon after a housekeeper there said the French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted her the charges against him were dismissed.

Under a California law, hotels can be held responsible for employees becoming sexually harassed by guests or trespassers who the hotels know to be abusive, a state appeals court ruled in October.

Still, security measures stay out of attain for many personnel, and in Los Angeles, workers said hotels continued to indulge guests who misbehaved.

“They treat workers like their property,” the housekeeper who was propositioned for a massage stated of the Peninsula.

Set behind vine-covered walls and a thick curtain of trees on South Santa Monica Boulevard, the Peninsula keeps records of guests’ robe sizes and preferred brands of toilet wipes, former employees mentioned. It embroiders linens and stuffed animals with their initials.

Harvey Weinstein turned a fourth-floor suite into his headquarters-away-from-home, and numerous ladies, like Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow, have said he employed the cover of operate meetings to sexually harass them at the hotel.CreditPaul Buck/European Pressphoto Agency

Handful of guests drew as much attention from the hotel — or had been as feared by its staff — as Mr. Weinstein, former workers stated. He is under investigation by law enforcement agencies in three cities.

The New York Occasions interviewed eight present or former Peninsula employees and a former associate of Mr. Weinstein’s who traveled with him, and also reviewed a number of lawsuits by males and ladies who worked at the Peninsula accusing co-workers of sexual misconduct. The employees spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the fact they had signed nondisclosure agreements.

They mentioned they frequently felt helpless subsequent to Hollywood titans whom the hotel went to intense lengths to please.

Offer Nissenbaum, the managing director of the Peninsula, stated in a statement, “We have employed thousands of folks over 25 years and although we are not perfect, we do our greatest to treat our staff pretty and make sure their well-getting. Please know that we find out from our mistakes and are always attempting to increase.”

Mr. Nissenbaum said that the hotel will ask guests to leave if it finds they sexually harassed employees members and that it reports any illegal behavior it discovers to the police. The hotel, he said, also investigates and disciplines employees members accused of sexual harassment.

“We look following the smallest information to make our guests’ expertise memorable,” he mentioned. But, he said, that “does not imply we undertake any illegal activity or condone illegal behavior.”

Hotels — workplaces for some, and leisurely retreats for others — have long created for challenging operating environments, especially for women whose job it is to enter rooms. An Equal Employment Opportunity Commission job force last year said housekeepers, like janitors on a evening shift and agricultural workers in the fields, are “particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and assault” simply because they are typically alone.

In the case of the Peninsula housekeeper who reported a groping, the investigation remains open. The police report, obtained by means of a public records request, says the suspect is unknown.

In another incident reported to the police in June, a Peninsula employee stated a co-worker held her in a hug and attempted to kiss her lips even though they were each operating, police records say.

Mr. Nissenbaum stated of the personnel, “Both these incidents had been resolved to their satisfaction.”

Some Peninsula workers contacted for this story said they have been unaware of Mr. Weinstein’s behavior. Others declined to answer inquiries about him. But workers said his infamous temper followed him from his house in Manhattan to the hotel’s gilded hallways.

On one occasion, he was talking on his cellphone in the lobby when a new staffer, regrouping right after a stressful verify-in, let out a sigh, stated an employee who saw the situation unfold. Mr. Weinstein hung up, stomped more than and berated the staffer for displaying exasperation with guests nearby, the employee stated. Tears streamed down the staffer’s face whilst Mr. Weinstein walked away.

Supply Nissenbaum, the managing director of the Peninsula, mentioned in a statement, “We have employed thousands of men and women over 25 years and whilst we are not best, we do our very best to treat our workers fairly and ensure their well-getting.”CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times

Holly Baird, a spokeswoman for Mr. Weinstein, declined to comment on that account. She said of the drumbeat of allegations against him, “With respect to any ladies who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships have been consensual.”

At the Peninsula, a former front desk attendant mentioned a supervisor often sneaked up behind girls and brushed their hair if she believed they did not meet the hotel’s exacting grooming standards. The attendant stated she worried that hotel security was unresponsive when she raised concerns about guests trying to touch her or trap her in a hallway.

“They really feel like they can hug you and touch you and grab you and squeeze you and tell you how good they consider your legs look in that uniform,” she said, describing guests at the Peninsula. “You laugh, you smile and you stand on your back foot and by no means let them get in between you and a door.”

A second former front desk attendant mentioned a male supervisor had grabbed her and a colleague’s buttocks dozens of occasions behind the desk. She mentioned she never reported the episodes because she did not trust management to take her complaints seriously.

An employee handbook in use numerous years ago listed hundreds of precise instructions for how to act when guests contact (“no fourth ring”), pass in the hallway (“staff will move to the side and pause”) and arrive (“no guest will ever have to touch the front door”). It also warns personnel against telling guests “no,” suggesting they discover “considerate options.” Mr. Nissenbaum mentioned that was in no way license for guests to act inappropriately.

Mr. Nissenbaum supplied a hotel sexual harassment policy that he said had been component of the employee handbook considering that at least 2003, and stated the hotel complies with California law on sexual harassment.

Former female workers said they gave new hires ideas on how to protect themselves, like keeping a piece of furnishings amongst themselves and guests known to grab ladies.

Some staff likened the Peninsula to a prison, saying jealously that these who left had gotten out “after time served at the Pen.”

For stars, although, it was a refuge.

Actresses holed up there following plastic surgery, ordering room service for days, former employees said. Guys arrived with their wives on the weekend and various girls during the week. The Peninsula quickly threw out paparazzi.

Mr. Weinstein’s stays would likely have brought in thousands of dollars rooms at the Peninsula expense several hundred dollars a evening, while suites can go for a lot more than $two,000 a evening.CreditAraya Diaz/Getty Pictures

A bartender said in a lawsuit that following a co-worker in 2012 forced his hand onto her genitals and buttocks, the hotel’s director of security chided her for going to the police. The hotel settled the lawsuit in February for an undisclosed sum, a court document indicates.

Two female cooks at the hotel said in a 2008 lawsuit that supervisors blocked them from leaving the kitchen, pushed them against counters and rubbed their genitals against the women’s buttocks. The parties reached a confidential settlement agreement, stated Bradley C. Gage, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Mr. Nissenbaum said the hotel was legally prohibited from commenting on staff and connected legal matters.

Susan Minato, a co-president of Unite Right here Nearby 11 in Los Angeles, mentioned nonunion housekeepers told her they keep away from reporting harassment for fear of becoming fired. Housekeepers at the Peninsula are not unionized. In a bid to safe protections for all workers, with or with no a union, Unite Right here pressed for legislation in Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, that would have required hotels to supply workers with panic buttons, but the City Council rejected the measure.

A union survey of hotel workers in Chicago identified that 58 percent of them had been sexually harassed by a guest.

Union organizers mentioned immigrant workers were specifically vulnerable. And the very same power imbalance that gives guests as well considerably handle over female workers can also leave workers vulnerable to their managers, said Karen Kent, the president of Unite Here Neighborhood 1 in Chicago.

Mr. Weinstein regularly turned a fourth-floor Peninsula suite into his headquarters-away-from-house. He place up a team of his employees there, as well, a former associate of his stated. His stays would most likely have brought in thousands of dollars rooms at the Peninsula expense a number of hundred dollars a evening, even though suites can go for much more than $2,000 a evening.

That funds purchased customized service. Employees met to talk about the next day’s arrivals. Regular guests could store items for their next stay. For Mr. Weinstein, hotel workers furnished the area of one particular of his assistants with stationery embossed with the assistant’s name, the former associate said.

“Every time you remain there, what you order, what you eat — there’s a record of it,” said a former employees member at the Peninsula who took part in pre-arrival meetings.

The hotel is a picture of opulence. On a recent pay a visit to, the horseshoe driveway was lined with luxury cars. Hanging from the trees had been orbs covered in tiny lights. Inside, attendants scurried about providing drinks.

Studio bosses, agents and actors typically traveled to Mr. Weinstein’s suite.

Two decades ago, the actress Lola Glaudini was introduced to Mr. Weinstein by the actor Edward Norton at a premiere for the film “Rounders.” She was asked to meet Mr. Weinstein at the Peninsula Beverly Hills a few days later.CreditWireImage Video, by means of Getty Images

On a late-summer day in 1998, Lola Glaudini, then 26, arrived at the Peninsula for what she expected to be a meeting about her acting profession with Mr. Weinstein. Following she asked for him at the front desk, an assistant whisked her upstairs and left her in a suite transformed from a enterprise venue to a bacchanal. A space service cart was heaped with champagne, lobster and shrimp. From the bedroom he told her to pour herself a drink — she did not — and he walked out in hardly any clothing, Ms. Glaudini stated.

They had met a handful of days earlier, at a premiere celebration for the film “Rounders.” Ms. Glaudini, anxious to fill gaps in her memory, discovered a red carpet video on YouTube lately that recorded the introduction. She approached The Occasions with her story in October shortly after it published an investigation of sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Weinstein.

In his suite, Mr. Weinstein asked her to play along in a fantasy, attempted coaxing her into bed and, when she declined his advances, told her on the balcony about actresses he claimed to have slept with, including Ms. Paltrow, and suggested she do the exact same for a part.

“All I just kept wanting to do was get the meeting on track,” Ms. Glaudini mentioned. “I wanted the meeting.”

Afterward, she stated she steadied herself with a glass of wine at the hotel bar, scanning women who walked in for an individual she feared might become his next victim. She mentioned she told her father and her then-boyfriend, now-husband. In separate interviews, they each confirmed her account and recalled Ms. Glaudini becoming shaken and disappointed.

A few days later, Mr. Weinstein sent her a card urging her to make contact with his improvement team if she came up with a project, Ms. Glaudini stated. He told her he would be satisfied to join the meeting.

Susan C. Beachy and Elisa Cho contributed investigation. Jodi Kantor contributed reporting.


Published at Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:00:33 +0000

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