The TikTok stars Bryce Hall and Blake Gray are facing criminal charges for throwing mega-parties at their Hollywood Hills mansion in defiance of a ban against large gatherings in Los Angeles, prosecutors announced on Friday.
The two were each charged with a misdemeanor for violating the Safer L.A. health order and the city’s “Party House Ordinance,” said Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles City Attorney. The charges are among the first filed amid the city’s crackdown on social gatherings during the Covid-19 pandemic. The two could face up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000 if convicted.
“With hundreds of people attending, loud music all night long and cars blocking access for emergency vehicles, party houses are really out-of-control nightclubs, and they’ve hijacked the quality of life of neighbors nearby,” Mr. Feuer said in a statement on Friday. “As if that weren’t enough, the hosts are incredibly irresponsible, with Covid-19 spreading and parties banned because of it. We’ve got to put a stop to it.”
A representative for Mr. Hall and Mr. Gray declined to comment on the charges.
Mr. Hall and Mr. Gray are prominent Gen Z social media influencers with a combined 19 million followers on TikTok.
Mr. Feuer said he hoped those with such a powerful platform would use it more responsibly. “You should be modeling good behavior — not brazenly violating the law and posting videos about it, as we allege,” he said.
On Aug. 19, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles ordered the water shut off at Mr. Hall and Mr. Gray’s home, also in response to their continued partying. Mr. Hall threw at least three large parties in August, including one for his 21st birthday at a house in Encino with hundreds of guests. At least two of Mr. Hall’s parties resulted in citations after neighbors called in noise complaints.
Mr. Feuer said that he wasn’t aware of any coronavirus cases resulting directly from Mr. Hall and Mr. Gray’s parties, but that the virus could still be in an incubation phase. Mr. Hall’s most recent party, a celebration for his 21st birthday, was held on August 14.
In addition to the charges against Mr. Hall and Mr. Gray, the city attorney’s office on Friday also announced similar charges against two homeowners whose houses, prosecutors say, have drawn repeated complaints from neighbors and received multiple citations for violating the Party House Ordinance.
High-profile influencers continue to face backlash for socializing and ignoring social distancing recommendations. The county has recorded nearly 237,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 5,700 deaths.
Fellow social media stars in Los Angeles have tried to hold their peers accountable. The YouTuber Tyler Oakley has criticized the TikTokers on his Twitter feed and the YouTuber Elijah Daniel encouraged fans to let Mr. Hall “fade away.”
“It isn’t just the party house itself that’s affected,” Mr. Feuer said at the news conference on Friday. “These individuals who attend your parties could leave and spread it to siblings, to parents, to grandparents, to co-workers, to others in the public.”
Mr. Feuer also warned those who attend these parties. “Individuals who attend parties could also face consequences,” he said. “It depends what kind of behavior we see.”