There’s a definite hubbub here at the Beverly Hilton, but it’s not the scene we’re used to seeing on Golden Globes night. For starters, Wilshire Boulevard is a dead zone, almost eerily quiet except for the occasional Mercedes screaming down the street at 80 miles an hour. No red carpet, no screaming photogs, no limo drop off, no press shuttle, and most notably, not a star in sight.
The International Ballroom is teaming with reporters, laptops and TV cameras, but it’s just not the same. Feels more like international day at TCA (and frankly, food’s usually better during press tour.)
“It’s like a non-event,” said Kyle Batty, a Beverly Hills Police Department officer who sat perched his motorcycle out in front of the hotel at the Wilshire and Whittier, eating a Starbucks pastry while gazing at the emptiness.
Security was very visible around the perimeter of the hotel, not that they had much to do. (Another member of Beverly Hills’ finest said they went down from a presence of 90 officers for a typical Globes ceremony to about 10.)
A dozen or so enterprising demonstrators did show up at the Santa Monica Boulevard entrance to the hotel to tubthump the cause of below-the-line industry workers who have taken such a hit during the 11-week-old strike.
“We just want to bring attention to the fact that the WGA and AMPTP are not even at the bargaining table,” said Cherie Larson, a registered nurse who works for studios and on film sets. A group of nurses who belong to IATSE 767, which reps studio first aid workers, organized the mostly-impromptu protest to drive home the message that people aren’t working. They knew there’d be a ton of press at the Beverly Hilton for the Globes announcement, and once WGA confirmed that they would not picket the event, the nurses figured it was a good place to get their message across.
The demonstrators held up homemade picket signs urging “WGA end this strike” and “Below the line workers want to get back to work.” The group also had a big piece of white posterboard headlined “We have lost our jobs and now our health insurance” mounted behind them that had gathered about 125 signatures by Sunday afternoon.
“We’re not chosing sides. We just want the public to know that we’re the ones who are affected by this strike,” said Karen Kovacic, a nurse and Local 767 membere. We’re the crew people who operate the cameras, we do the hair and makeup, we are the nurses on set. And we’re sitting around not working. It was a really rough Christmas at my house. That $450 a week unemployment check doesn’t go very far.”
Kovacic said the group intended to move the signature board around to various showbiz locations in the coming weeks. If there’s no movement in the strike, Kovacic said they would work with other below-the-line orgs to organize a large-scale rally.
“People are losing their health insurance because they haven’t worked enough hours to qualify,” Larson said. “This is hurting families and children, not just ‘movie people.'”
(Pics by Steve Granitz/WireImage.com)