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L.A. County defends maskless stars at Emmys, explains performers get special treatment

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Los Angeles County health officials responded Monday after the Emmys ceremony held Sunday evening was blasted for hypocrisy after allowing stars to appear in a crowded venue maskless while support staff at the venue were still forced to wear masks.

This year’s program marked the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards show and a return to a live, in-person format after more than a year’s worth of state-and-city-imposed mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic like mask-wearing, social distancing, business closures, and restrictions on gatherings, all of which made such programs impossible.

Very few of the celebrities who attended were seen wearing masks, but all support personnel and production staffers who worked the venue were required to do so and they were seen in various videos wearing them as they mingled with the stars.

Not all of the event’s A-listers were happy about the lack of COVID restrictions and protocols, especially comedic actor Seth Rogan, the evening’s first presenter.

“Good to be here at the Emmy Awards. Let me start by saying: there’s way too many of us in this little room,” he quipped.

“What are we doing?” Rogen continued, his voice rising. “They said this was outdoors—it’s not! They lied to us. We’re in a hermetically sealed tent right now. I would not have come to this. Why is there a roof? It’s more important that we have three chandeliers than that we make sure we don’t kill Eugene Levy tonight. That is what has been decided.”

L.A. County reimposed an indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, on July 17, a month after Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared California “reopened.”

But in a statement to Fox News on Monday, L.A. County health officials essentially declared that because they are stars, the attendees at this year’s Emmys Awards were exempt.

Despite the county’s mask mandate and other requirements, “exceptions are made for film, television, and music productions, as additional safety modifications are made for these controlled interactions,” the Department of Health said.

“The Emmy Award Show is a television production, and persons appearing on the show are considered performers,” the statement continued. “All persons appearing on or in the audience of the Emmy Award Show were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

The department said that all attendees tested negative for COVID-19 within two days of the event and that all support and production personnel were required to be vaccinated and test negative twice a week.

“The Emmys reached out to Public Health in advance to share their safety protocols, which exceeded the baseline requirements for television and film productions,” the department’s statement added. “Careful planning before large events is essential to assure that all health and safety requirements are adequately addressed.”

But that did not stop people from reacting negatively to the distinct difference in treatment.

“Hollywood stars are currently sitting together maskless in a packed room at the Emmys… meanwhile my fully vaccinated kids are forced to wear masks all day at school. What a ridiculous world we’re living in!” said one user on Twitter.

“Requiring kids in school to mask up, but no masks for the Emmy’s?!?” said another.

“Hollywood sent a clear message tonight: COVID is for the poor,” another noted.

Your child in school/ vs. #Emmys Hollywood elite. Covid is only for the peasants,” said another.

Jon Dougherty

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