The traffic congestion experienced by Golden Globes attendees Sunday made clear that while here may not appear to not be as much security onsite as in the recent past, things are actually much more buttoned down than usual.
Unlike previous years when there would be a wall of SWAT trucks and bomb-cop trucks, the bulk of the Beverly Hills police presence was more behind the scenes today. There was a police perimeter with squad cars and motorcycles set up near the Hilton, 0.2 miles before its entrance, creating a black sedan and limo back-up for those arriving to the red carpet.
With Israel’s powerful response to the murderous Hamas attack October 7 spurring demonstrations almost every few days in Los Angeles County, West Coast law enforcement has been echoing the stern stance the NYPD took on New Year’s Eve. There were a handful apparent protesters out near the Beverly Hills Hilton today, but due to the tight police perimeter and the closing down of neighborhood streets around the venue, almost no one heading to the Globes saw any of the demonstrators.
There were no planned permitted protests by pro-Palestinian groups in the Beverly Hills area today. However, there is a protest march this afternoon heading toward the Israel consulate general’s house, less than 4 miles from the Beverly Hilton, calling for a ceasefire and an end to U.S. aid to Israel.
Still, having begun a lockdown of the area earlier in the weekend, the cops weren’t taking any chances Sunday.
With law enforcement out on the streets, cars were backed up for more than 90 minutes due leading to the Hilton. Like the Oscars, every trunk was searched by hand and had a sniffing dog go over it too. Officers were apologetic to guests for the delays, and, despite the odd grumble, received unanimous compliance, we hear.
Once at the Beverly Hilton, nominees, guests and media lined up beside guards with dogs as they entered the venue. Attendees told us of multiple searches of women’s purses and bags and multiple badge scans for media.
“The Beverly Hills Police Department’s Intelligence Unit Detectives work closely with our neighboring police departments and with our federal law enforcement partners in sharing any information about planned protest activity,” the BHPD’s Lt. Reginald Evans told Deadline in a statement Sunday. “At this time, we are not aware of any threats to the event or its attendees. We are, however, aware of world events.”
“We have staffed extra police personnel for the event, in conjunction with other state and federal law enforcement agencies and private security companies,” Evans noted. “We look forward to another successful and safe Golden Globes.”
Making some of their efforts public, the BHPD put out a street closures map for today’s Globes.
While the BHPD is running the show when it comes to Globes security, L.A. Country Sheriff’s deputies and private contractors were also out in force. Hidden from public view, the FBI and DHS were participating as well in what everyone acknowledges is a potentially more fraught situation that in past years.
“A high-profile event like this, with lots of well-known individuals and media present, requires a well-coordinated response,” a well-positioned law enforcement source told Deadline of today’s Globes amidst the greater context of geopolitical events and rising antisemitism. “That means taking the procedures we commonly use, analyzing the chatter, and enlarge resources where we identify vulnerabilities,” he started, noting an increase in digital surveillance in and around the Hilton, among a number of measures today.
“No one’s getting in or out without us knowing about it,” the source added.
Police and Globes organizers have been concerned in recent weeks that attendees could be confronted in way similar to that of President Biden and the First Lady who encountered a thousand “Free Gaza” protesters outside a Holmby Hills fundraiser in early December. Ditto for Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff, who faced two dozen pro-Palestinian demonstrators outside a fundraiser event at the home of entertainment attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie and Leslie Gilbert-Lurie in late November. Some of the protesters chanted “Free Palestine” according to a pool report. Demonstrators also threw fake blood in front of the home, and placed their red handprints on the ground.
In the fiscal year 2023 per the U.S. Customer and Border Protection, 151 people who tried to enter the country were identified in the FBI’s terrorist watchlist — up from 99 in 2022 and 15 in 2021.
As such, an event such as the Golden Globes, noted for its winners’ political acceptance speeches and with nominees who’ve already called for a ceasefire in Gaza, calls attention to perpetrators. Of those Globes nominees who’ve signed an open letter to Biden calling for a ceasefire in Gaza are Bradley Cooper, Lily Gladstone, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri, Joaquin Phoenix, David Oyelowo, Wanda Sykes, Selena Gomez, Quinta Brunson, Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Brian Cox.
With that in mind, according to Kent Moyer, CEO of event security firm World Protection Group, on any given awards or premiere night, there are “three rings of protection” surrounding a venue such as the Beverly Hilton, and in a heightened situation law enforcement “takes that outer ring of protection and moves it out further.”
While absolute attention is being given to those attending tonight’s ceremony at the Beverly Hilton, law enforcement is well aware of any distractions which could take place on a prolific night such as the Globes, i.e., a smash-and-grab robbery at a luxe store or a bomb threat in another part of town.
When it comes to distracting threats on an awards night such as this “(Terrorists) can use the ceremony as a trial run,” explains Moyer. “Terrorists try to check how long it takes law enforcement to respond.”
Baz Bamigboye and Antonia Blyth contributed to this report