The mayor of Los Angeles cut all utilities at TikTok star Bryce Hall’s rented home in the Hollywood Hills Wednesday, in a move meant to punish him for throwing a large party in defiance of coronavirus rules.
Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the shutdown on Wednesday amid outcry over Hall and his influencer roommates, Noah Beck and Blake Gray, who appear to be hosting large parties despite the threat of COVID-19 in California.
The TikTok stars refer to themselves collectively as the “Sway House,” and their pandemic party antics have been well-documented on social media.
“Despite several warnings, this house has turned into a nightclub in the hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders,” Garcetti said in a statement. “The City has now disconnected utilities at this home to stop these parties that endanger our community.”
Garcetti says the house was used to host large gatherings on Aug. 8 and Aug. 14, in violation of city a ban on large gatherings to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The Sway House occupants were warned about their parties prior to Aug. 14, Garcetti’s office said.
“Parties like these can quickly and easily spread the virus and put our communities at risk,” he tweeted.
Videos posted on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter show a wild party happening on Aug. 14, when Hall was celebrating his 21st birthday. The videos show a packed mansion with hundreds of guests, several strippers and plenty of contact between those in attendance. Many of the videos appear to have been recorded by Hall’s guests.
The Aug. 14 party took place at a different rental home from the one where Hall, Beck and Gray are staying, the New York Times reports. Police eventually responded to the party after receiving complaints about it.
The videos sparked outcry over the lack of social distancing.
However, the TikTok stars appeared to be defiant about their behaviour, posting a handful of “troll” videos prior to the utility shutoff.
“Our lights keep flickering for some reason,” Hall wrote in a TikTok on Wednesday. The video shows Hall, Beck and Gray taking their shirts off and dancing.
Another video shows Beck using the taps and the lights at the house.
Beck claimed in a separate post that he “never attended the party,” and that the previous video was not a “jab” at anyone.
The three influencers have continued posting dance videos on TikTok despite the shutdown. Hall has approximately 13 million followers while Beck has 11.5 million and Gray has 5.6 million.
Gray went live on Instagram Wednesday night to show his followers the blacked-out home. Helicopters can be heard near the house.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language. Discretion is advised.
Garcetti did not say how long the utility shut-off would last at the Sway House, or how the TikTok stars could get it turned back on.
“We will restore utilities when the order is made to do so,” Department of Water and Power spokesman Joe Ramallo told the L.A. Times.
Several high-profile influencers have banded together to share houses during the pandemic, in order to continue creating content through the lockdowns in hard-hit California.
City officials say they’ve considered cutting off the power to at least two other homes for similar incidents.
More than 2,000 citizens of Los Angeles have died of COVID-19, Garcetti says.
The U.S. has recorded more than 5.5 million cases and 173,000 deaths from the virus to date, according to the New York Times. California recorded 163 new deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, and 11,686 deaths overall.
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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
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