TikTok stars charged over partying in LA during pandemic
Los Angeles officials have charged two TikTok stars for holding large house parties in breach of coronavirus restrictions.
Bryce Hall and Blake Gray, who have millions of followers on the popular social media platform, have faced mounting criticism for hosting parties during the pandemic.
City Attorney Mike Feuer described the events as “incredibly irresponsible”.
If found guilty, they face fines of up to $2,000 (£1,500) and a year in jail.
Earlier this month authorities cut off water and electricity to a Hollywood Hills mansion being rented by the pair and another “influencer”.
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On Friday they were charged with violating Los Angeles County’s safer-at-home order and a city law that prohibits large, noisy parties.
At a news conference, Mr Feuer said that house parties were potential “super-spreader events” for the coronavirus.
“If you have a combined 19 million followers on TikTok, in the middle of a public health crisis you should be modelling great behaviour, best practices for all of us rather than brazenly violating the law and then posting videos about it, as we allege happened here,” he told reporters.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the pair hosted parties at rented properties on 8 and 14 August that both ended up being attended by police.
The event on 14 August was to celebrate Mr Hall’s 21st birthday. Footage posted online showed dozens of young partygoers crowded together in one room.
Earlier this month, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said house parties had become “nightclubs in the hills”.
California is the US state worst affected by Covid-19 with more than 683,000 cases and more than 12,000 deaths.
Los Angeles county continues to report the highest number of infections in the state – 237,000 as of Friday.
Representatives of the two men have not responded to the charges, according to the LA Times.
However, Mr Hall recently told TMZ that he regretted his behaviour and that officials had been justified in cutting off power to his house.
“I deserved it. Now I’m just facing the consequences,” he said.