Hollywood went all out to protect the stars at Sunday’s 93rd Academy Awards by erecting a ten-foot security fence around Union Station to keep the public out, and by removing homeless encampments near the event.
The homeless were once again swept under the rug in Hollywood to clean up the area before Tinseltown’s biggest event. An overpass one block from Union Station was cleansed of the homeless in preparation for the Oscars, ostensibly so celebrities would not be subjected to the sight, and under the guise of security concerns. The homeless encampments were given one week to move. If they refused to go, the people living there were allegedly told their camp would be demolished and they would be thrown in jail.
Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin de Leon (D) claimed it wasn’t true but the homeless that were interviewed by the media said the exact opposite.
“While the 93rd Academy Awards are being held at Union Station this year, and despite irresponsible rumors, NO unhoused residents are being forced to relocate. Since being sworn in, my office has been painstakingly working to house those experiencing homelessness throughout my district and we were able to offer housing options to unhoused residents in the vicinity of Union Station,” he said in a released statement.
(Video Credit: Fox 11 Los Angeles)
Homeless residents reported they were forced to go to the Grand Hotel to spruce up the image of Union Station. They were reportedly told they had to move because cameras would be capturing the limousines of the stars as they drove up to Union Station.
The perimeter surrounding the station was cordoned off by fences and the building’s entrances were also blocked. Signs attached to the fences warned anyone looking to gain entrance that they were not welcome unless they got permission first: “This property is closed to the public. No entry without permission.”
Police officers on motorcycles, security personnel, chain link fencing, and concrete blockades made the buildings virtually inaccessible from the front or sides. Access could only be gained about half a mile away, through an underpass on Cesar Chavez Avenue.
The move appears to contradict the sentiments of most Hollywood denizens who stood firmly against former President Trump’s wall on the southern U.S. border. Celebrities who railed against the wall included George Clooney, Matt Damon, Lady GaGa, Johnny Depp, John Oliver, Russell Simmons, J.K. Rowling, America Ferrera, Bette Midler, Jennifer Lawrence, Miley Cyrus, and a number of others according to Business Insider.
A COVID-19 testing site was also relocated from the front of the transit station to the back of the complex to accommodate the Oscars and remove the stark reminder of the pandemic. “It was hard for us to find it,” said Wendy Moncada, who arrived at the testing site about an hour before the 5 p.m. star-studded even began. “The whole parking situation was difficult, and there was no drop-off or pickup.”
An anonymous staff member for Curative, which runs the testing site and was forced to relocate it on April 1, called the move “a fiasco.”
One of the publicized highlights of the evening worth noting was Director and producer Tyler Perry being honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Academy Awards. He gave a moving speech following the award that ironically spoke against “hate” and highlighted homelessness:
My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment. And in this time, with all of the internet and social media and algorithms and everything that wants us to think a certain way, the 24-hour news cycle, it is my hope that all of us would teach our kids, and I want to remember: just refuse hate. Don’t hate anybody.
I refuse to hate someone because they are Mexican or because they are Black or White. Or LBGTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they are a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope we would refuse hate.
And I want to take this Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and dedicate it to anyone who wants to stand in the middle. No matter what’s around the wall, stand in the middle. Because that’s where healing, that’s where conversation happens, that’s where change happens. It happens in the middle. So anyone who wants to meet me in the middle to refuse hate, to refuse blanket judgment, and to lift someone’s feet off the ground, this one is for you, too.
(Video Credit: ABC)
Reporters dressed casually in jeans and fancy shirts. There was no glitterati making their entrances on the red carpet. And there were no shrieking fans in attendance.
This year’s Oscars not only hid the homeless from view, but they also kept the public away and held an intimate ceremony that was kept basically private for Hollywood’s elite.
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