Entertainment industry trade The Hollywood Reporter conducted a year-long investigation into security at high-profile film premieres and over 55 red-carpet events throughout Los Angeles and found that is “strikingly easy” for unauthorized personnel to gain access to A-list talent.
The publication’s review was reportedly conducted before singer Christina Grimmie was shot to death during a June 10 autograph signing in Orlando and the Islamic State-inspired terror attack in the same city, just days later, at the Pulse nightclub.
But given the consistent scourge of stalkers threatening stars like Sandra Bullock and Gwyneth Paltrow, and theater shootings including The Dark Knight Rises premiere in 2012 and Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck in 2015 (and even the ill-conceived PR stunt at the Cannes Film Festival last month in France that spurred local law enforcement into action and scarred celebrity guests), security at high-profile Hollywood events is a major concern.
“Studios are really forcing the talent to engage with their fans on a personal level. It’s sort of like a free pass for strangers to touch or grab them or want more from them than they should be obliged to give,” one representative for well-known told THR. “It has just evolved into a level of expectation that if talent doesn’t walk over to the fans, they’re booed.”
“There have been incidents; there have been things that have happened that have been kept from the public eye,” said Eric Rose, West Coast director at Pinkerton, a private security agency that provides surveillance at Hollywood events. “We have just been fortunate that it hasn’t been catastrophic. … With the way things have changed in the last couple of years, I don’t think the entertainment industry has yet taken note — because if [a terrorist] is going to blow up a train station in Paris or an airport in Brussels, what’s better than a Star Wars premiere?”
The terrorist massacre in San Bernardino, California occurred a little more than an hour’s drive away from and less than two weeks before Disney’s star-studded Star Wars: The Force Awakens red carpet event at the famous Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
THR reports that security at a few events, including this year’s Oscars, was “impenetrable,” but added: “At nearly every premiere visited, no one was wanded or frisked by security before attending the red carpet, and bags were not checked.”
The website says its staff was able to penetrate the security apparatuses of 24 distributors and TV networks’ events.
The FBI, Los Angles County Sheriff’s Department, and Los Angeles Police Department all collaborate with the Joint Regional Intelligence Center, which was established after the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.
“During this age of social media and increasing desire to break through the clutter, a splashy premiere is important,” THR’s report concluded. “It’s a push and pull between the studio’s desire for press and spectacle and the talent representatives’ and security companies’ wish for safety and security. And everyone agrees on one thing: No one is 100 percent safe anywhere these days, be it a subway, a nightclub, a Hollywood premiere or a fan meet-and-greet.”