Shark Tank, Audition for Millions and Block the Sidewalk

Another side effect of the film and television industry’s abuse of Los Angeles as their personal backlots is what happens when television shows hold “open auditions” without taking the time or effort to insure that the auditions don’t negatively impact the community.

Take what happens when ABC’s Shark Tank, a show where a handful of billionaires decide whether or not to take over invest in one’s life work  and dreams. Maybe the person will become a millionaire. Maybe not.  When Shark Tank rolls into the Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, the sidewalks surrounding the site become impassable.

Despite the above video showing several Municipal Code violations (see below for more), neither the LAPD, the hotel, Shark Tank, or anyone else seem interested in providing public or private security or obtaining a sidewalk closure permit. As the above video shows, passing the line of hopeful entrepreneurs is a daunting task, even the cameraman spends most of the video on the sidewalk.

A reader, who wished to remain anonymous, sends along a first-hand review of the Shark Tank audition line.

A couple times a year auditions are held at a hotel in my neighborhood (Studio City/North Hollywood.) Usually a day before these auditions, people begin lining up for the auditions on the sidewalk outside of the property. They often bring chairs, lounge chairs, tents, sometimes even mattresses. I use this sidewalk nearly every day when moving around my neighborhood, so I’ve experienced the direct impact of these situations as a pedestrian and bicyclist.

I’ve tried contacting the hotel where this event is held, but they say they can do nothing since it’s not their property (people waiting in line claimed the hotel had directed them to line up on the sidewalk.) I’ve been unable to figure out how to contact anyone from “Shark Tank” (the show people are auditioning for at least a few of the times – including today.) I’ve also tried calling the police, but they claim this isn’t an issue.

I understand that the hotel doesn’t want to talk to ABC about this since they have a vested interest in the business ABC provides. I don’t think ABC wants to take any responsibility despite the fact that they know these sorts of things happen in advance of their auditions. From what I understand of the Los Angeles municipal code SEC. 41.18., people cannot block the sidewalk. From what I understand of SEC. 56.1, people cannot leave chairs and other articles on the sidewalk as they often do in these situations. I’ve seen people trying to use the sidewalk go into the street to pass since the sidewalk is blocked or turn around since the sidewalk is blocked. There are no posted notices about the sidewalk being closed from any direction.

Of course, the film and television industry’s disdain for Los Angeles’ residents isn’t confined to just occasionally closing sidewalks without permission or precaution; they are also actively trying to remove bicycle and pedestrian safety issues in Downtown Los Angeles. If they are permitted to continue, it’s the citizens of Los Angeles who will continue to pay the price.

  • Norm Bour

    I was there for this event as well and it was calm compared to last year. They distributed wrist bands and had people return at the appropriate times. We went there to share our Shark Tank Boot Camp with the largest group of alumni from the show.

  • davistrain

    A couple of times a year? I suppose you’d complain about the Rose Parade if you lived in Pasadena. Southern California has enough trouble keeping TV and movie productions from moving out of state or up to Canada; we should be willing to put up with some inconvenience to keep the money and JOBS here in LA. (note: I do not work in the entertainment industry)

  • davistrain

    A couple of times a year? I suppose you’d complain about the Rose Parade if you lived in Pasadena. Southern California has enough trouble keeping TV and movie productions from moving out of state or up to Canada; we should be willing to put up with some inconvenience to keep the money and JOBS here in LA. (note: I do not work in the entertainment industry)

  • Erik Griswold

    Could a claim be made via Sacramento v. Barden?

    http://www.accessiblesociety.org/topics/ada/bardensolicgen.html

  • Carlos Montano

    Only in LA would someone call the police for there being too many people on sidewalks. This is a sad fact of living in LA. We should be thankful that our sidewalks are being activated, and should welcome it. LA needs to be more vibrant on the street level.

    This is one of the reasons LA will never have a pedestrian culture. People are afraid of sharing space.

  • laguttersnipe

    boo hooo this is ridiculous.

  • Ted Pikul

    The assertion that people must endure potentially dangerous situations otherwise jobs will disappear is absurd. Hiring someone to control the line would have created even more jobs and kept people safe.

  • Ted Pikul

    Based on the embedded video it looks like this sidewalk is already very active but that this situation is actually impeding pedestrians. Just check out the video at 2:18 and see a mother and child having to walk in the street next to cars.

  • M

    I work in Pasadena and they do an excellent job of maintaining safe spaces for pedestrians to pass on sidewalks in the days leading up to the Rose Parade. Weeks in advance signs are posted indicating where parking will be limited, bleachers are set up out of the way of pedestrians (and people buy their seats in the bleachers way in advance of the parade so they aren’t lining up.) In the immediate days before the Rose Parade, taped lines are added to the sidewalk to indicate the areas where people can set up their items safely while maintaining a clear walkway for people that are moving around, without having them move into the streets. The sidewalks in the areas where people line up are also much wider than the ones in this video. I think that if ABC did that much planning, the situation in this post would actually be much improved.

  • We don’t have a problem with a private company or organization using a public space for their business. Such events can even have a public good, for example, the L.A. Marathon.

    The objection here is that neither the Holiday Inn nor Shark Tank did what they are required to do: get a permit, put up signage, redirect foot traffic, etc. Why? My guess is that neither one cares about the mother pushing the stroller in a mixed-use travel lane.

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