Guilty of Attending the Golden Globes While Brown
Actor/Comedienne Dyana Ortelli speaks out about the egregious and nightmarish experience of discrimination and racial profiling
Last week, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announced its 2015 Golden Globes nominees, and today Actor-Comedienne Dyana Ortelli, co-host of the CBS2/KCAL9 local talk show, HOLA LA!, is compelled to make a different kind of announcement: Speaking out about the egregious and nightmarish experience of discrimination and racial profiling she was subjected to at the 2014 Golden Globes Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, CA, last January 12, 2014.
Published on LatinoLA: December 16, 2014
"For many years now, I have been very vocal about the discrimination toward Latinos in my community. But what happened to me at the Golden Globes last January was nothing short of a case of extreme racial profiling. I was harassed, mocked, laughed at and intimidated by hotel security and agents, and then maliciously thrown out of the hotel like a criminal," recalled Ortelli. "My crime? Attending the Golden Globes while Brown. I have tried to get this ugly and shameful incident resolved for the last 11 months, but the Beverly Hilton Hotel and the Hollywood Foreign Press have dismissed me, and refuse to issue an apology or do anything about it. In fact, because of race and retaliation, I have not been invited to the Golden Globes for the first time in 25 years."
Ms. Ortelli recounts what happened last January at the Golden Globes:
"I arrived at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with my companion, Mr. Noel de Souza, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, with whom I have been attending the Golden Globes for the last 25 years. We shared a limo with four other friends. After we were both cleared by security, we walked the red carpet arm-in-arm, and then proceeded to the Ballroom. Our tickets were scanned at the door, and we proceeded to our table for the Golden Globes Dinner/Awards Show.
When the ceremony was over, we walked out into the lobby area of the hotel. At this point, Mr. de Souza told me that he wished to attend one of the after-parties outside the hotel premises. It required a ride in a golf-cart in the cold-night air. I explained to him that I was not feeling well, and that I would prefer to wait for him in the lobby. That was when we inadvertently became separated.
I waited for an extended period of time in the lobby and Mr. de Souza did not come back for me. I was very worried about him, as he is elderly, feeble and partially blind. By that time, my cell phone battery had died and I had no way to reach any of our companions, who were all attending different after-parties. I then proceeded to the front desk and inquired about the availability of a 24-hr Business Center. A hotel employee kindly escorted me to the hotel's Business Center herself. I was able to use my credit card to gain access to the Internet and proceeded to locate my companions through Facebook.
It took a whole hour, but I finally located one of our companions.
He messaged me: 'we are on our way. Hold there.' I was sitting all alone in the Business Center waiting for my companions, when a security guard suddenly walked in. He proceeded to interrogate me in a hostile and threatening tone. I introduced myself and told him I was a guest of Mr. Noel de Souza, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, but he laughed at me and mocked me. This hostile exchange was followed by a series of 'visits' from other security guards and hotel agents who continued to harass and intimidate me, and simply refused to believe that I was an invited guest, although I had a valid I.D. with me the entire time.
One of the hotel agents was particularly offensive, at one point telling me, 'Why don't you get back in your limo and leave.' He then added, 'The Hotel does not want you on their property. The Hotel has a problem with you being on their property.'
At this point, I asked to speak to the hotel manager. A brunette woman walked in a few minutes later. Again, I introduced myself and told her I was a guest of Mr. de Souza, a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press, and added that I was a talk show host for HOLA LA! on CBS2. I handed her a business card that identified me as such. She started to walk out without saying a word. I then asked, 'May I have your name please?' She mumbled, 'Sandy' and walked out.
A few minutes later, four armed police showed up at the door smirking and chuckling. They repeated, 'The Hotel does not want you on their property. The Hotel has a problem with you being on their property.' They then said, 'Get your things; ADIOS, lady, you are outta here' and threw me out into the street like a criminal. I was out in the cold-night air, without a coat, for at least an hour, unable to reach anyone by phone, and unable to get a taxi. Finally, I asked a total stranger for a ride and made it back to my car. I was very sick for almost a month after that."
In response to the numerous calls the Beverly Hilton received from the Latino community about the outrageous mistreatment of Ms. Ortelli, and an outpouring of support via posts on social media demanding an apology, the hotel posted a defamatory and inflammatory statement on their social media pages, stating that Ms. Ortelli "failed to produce the proper credentials" and was "respectfully escorted out by security." Ms. Ortelli has asked for a public apology and retraction of the defamatory statement but the Beverly Hilton Hotel has refused to comply with her requests.
Ms. Ortelli states that this is no longer solely about the injuries inflicted on her. "I share my story because Hollywood has a big issue with race, particularly with Latinos and it's time to address the big Brown Elephant in the room. After reading Chris Rock's blistering article in the Hollywood Reporter about the treatment of Mexicans in Hollywood, I knew it was time to speak out."
What the hotel manager and the private security company hired for the Golden Globes Awards did not know is that Dyana Ortelli is a beloved and respected figure in the Latino community. She has worked for over 25 years in television and film. She is best known for her work on American Me (1992), ?íThree Amigos! (1986), Born in East L.A. and La Bamba (1987), and Luminarias (2000). Her TV credits include The Bridge, C.S.I., Curb Your Enthusiasm, Saving Grace, Lizzie McGuire, The Brothers Garcia and Seinfeld. Currently she co-stars in the holiday movie An Evergreen Christmas, starring Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd.
Known for her outrageous outfits on the red carpet, and for her infamous cholita character "Ramona From Pomona" in her stand-up comedy routine, Ms. Ortelli is also an outspoken civil rights activist. In 2002, the California State Assembly honored her with the Latino Spirit Award, alongside legendary Dolores Huerta.
Ms. Ortelli is exploring all legal options at this time.
About Dyana Ortelli
A native of Mexico, Dyana Ortelli is co-host of the CBS2/KCAL9 talk show, HOLA L.A.! She is best known for her work on American Me (1992), ?íThree Amigos! (1986), Born in East L.A., La Bamba (1987), and Luminarias (2000). Her TV credits include The Bridge, C.S.I., Curb Your Enthusiasm, Saving Grace, Lizzie McGuire, The Brothers Garcia, Seinfeld, and many others. Currently she co-stars in the holiday movie An Evergreen Christmas, starring Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd. Frustrated by the lack of positive roles for Latino actors in Hollywood, she began doing stand-up comedy in clubs throughout the Los Angeles area. Her East L.A. character, "Ramona from Pomona," is a favorite with Latino audiences everywhere. She was also a member of the groundbreaking 'The Hot & Spicy Mamitas,' comedy group comprised of five of the hottest Latina comediennes in the nation. Their self-titled comedy CD remains a fan favorite. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dyana.ortelli?fref=ts
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