Hollywood Reportedly Used Lobbyists To Gain Exemptions To California Lockdown

A Friday report from The Intercept claims that the Hollywood entertainment industry used lobbyists to gain exemptions from the strict lockdowns imposed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

According to publication, lobbyists like Jason Kinney, a longtime friend of the governor, have been wielding their influence to guide the governor’s office in its coronavirus approach. The piece pointed to the many Hollywood studios that continue to film in Los Angeles — which is currently facing another stay-at-home order — due to being deemed “critical infrastructure.”

The rules applied to residents and businesses are significantly harsher by contrast.

“Californians in many counties now face fines or imprisonment for venturing outside for any ‘nonessential’ travel, congregating in small groups, or operating an outdoor restaurant, even one that follows federal guidelines on social distancing and hygiene.”

The Intercept claimed that the Motion Picture Association spent $45,000 this year on lobbyists to shape the “COVID-19 Reopening of film/tv sector,” Warner Brothers invested $22,500 this year on lobbyists to shape “COVID/OUTREACH, TV/FILM PRODUCTION,” and Paramount Pictures has spent at least $85,000 thus far on guiding the “essential business” rules.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Newsom’s apparent friendliness to Hollywood executives has generated optimism for the future of the industry. Momita Sengupta, vice president of Netflix’s physical production operations, contrasted Hollywood with smaller businesses.

“We are not a bar where everybody sits around with their masks off,” she said.

Deadline previously reported that the California lockdown order would not apply to celebrities working in the entertainment industry, who were deemed “essential.”

“Workers supporting the entertainment industries, studios, and other related establishments, provided they follow covid-19 public health guidance around physical distancing,” the order read.

Notably, TV and film employees were not classified as essential workers during the California shutdown in March.

Newsom’s recent moves have generated anger in some communities. Per The Intercept, Los Angeles restaurant owner Angela Marsden went viral for highlighting the difference between her socially distanced outdoor dining to an NBC Universal television series set.

The governor was also caught violating his own warnings when he was spotted at an exclusive restaurant celebrating the birthday of lobbyist and longtime friend Kinney. The appearance led to a backlash from the public and accusations of hypocrisy. As The Inquisitr reported, comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah later unleashed a monologue that attacked Democrats who have violated their own coronavirus rules and claimed they are worse than people opposed to the use of face masks.

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