TV host and former “Apprentice” Jenn Hoffman has been kicked out of the celebrity-magnet Chateau Marmont – for a single tweet. And while the Marmont assures us it was because of Hoffman’s breach of one of its celebrity guests’ privacy and not just because she tweeted, this fiasco raises some questions about free speech and the nature of Twitter.
Hoffman (@JennHoffman) has apparently been going to the Chateau Marmont for some time, grabbing dinner where the celebrities flock. But as of last week, she has been banned from the Hollywood hipster hangout for one year. And it’s because she sent out a tweet.
Hoffman tweeted the following message after dinner at the Marmont:
And the next time she called them to book a reservation, she got a firm “we will not take your reservation” from the receptionist and the further explanation that she has been banned for a year because of that tweet from the manager. Hoffman made the following YouTube video explaining the situation:
As she mentions, the Chateau Marmont does not have a clear social media policy in place. They do not explicitly say that you can or cannot tweet about its celebrity guests, nor did Hoffman actually tweet from within the Marmont (her tweet mentions that Hunter was acting outrageously “last night”).
We reached out to the Chateau Marmont to verify Hoffman’s story and see if they actually did have a non-publicized social media policy. Here is the response we received from Philip Pavel, the Chateau Marmont’s general manager:
“The Chateau Marmont has built its success on creating an environment where the privacy of our guests is paramount.
Please know that the decision to not allow certain guests in our hotel is based solely on this concept, and has nothing to do with whether one uses Twitter.”
So it wasn’t the fact that she tweeted that caused Hoffman’s ban, but the fact that she tweeted about one of the Chateau’s guests.
It’s understandable that the Marmont want to keep its guests happy. They have built a reputation on being a celebrity safe-haven of sorts, where big spenders can plunk down some serious cash for dinner or a room and expect the utmost in privacy.
Still, I think this story has interesting implications for businesses like the Marmont, and for privacy in general. If Hoffman had updated her Facebook status with Hunter’s escapades instead of tweeting about it, the Marmont most likely wouldn’t have seen it and she could have made her dinner reservation last week. But because Twitter is such a public network – and likely because Hoffman used searchable terms like “Chateau Marmont” in her tweet – they did see it and banned her to protect their celebrity guest.
The Marmont is well within its rights to refuse service to anyone, and Hoffman is within her rights to be upset about it. This story illustrates that Twitter is not only a tool for free speech during protests and revolutions, but also one that can burn you if you use it to tweet unfiltered observations about the rich and the famous.
Image courtesy of Sarah_Ackerman/Flicker
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