Coachella Security Guards Say They Are Underfed, Underpaid And Mistreated
The Daily Beast spoke to Coachella security guards who claim they were forced to sleep on the ground for a month and were given little to no food after 12-hour shifts.
April 22, 2019 at 7:34 pm
In an exclusive report from The Daily Beast, multiple security guards working for the lavish Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival claimed they were underfed and mistreated during their time in Indio, California.
Writer Amy Zimmerman references interviews with security guards and a lengthy statement from Antonio Cannady, a screenwriter who signed up to be a security guard for the music festival this year. He blasted Coachella and the security companies they hire for providing barely any food to them, substandard sleeping conditions and discrimination of Black security guards.
"You would think Golden Voice after boasting about profits of $114 MILLION would be a corporate leader and trickle down some of that success and provide air craft hangars that house military cots, that way those bussed in to work their butts off for them can have a decent place to rest and not have to struggle with the stressful weather conditions," Cannady wrote.
"Not only must bussed in Black security guards deal with the living conditions during their tenure of the event. They also must deal with the daily and constant harassment of Golden Voice Security Guards."
Cannady and other security guards who spoke to The Daily Beast said for the entire month of April, security guards slept on the ground, which gets wet in the morning, and were asked to bring many of their supplies to make it through the month. If you did not bring your tent, mattress or sleeping bag, you were forced to sleep on the grass or search for cardboard.
This arrangement was in direct contrast to some of the other security companies, who slept in military-style barracks that had floors and cots. Cannady claims most of those sleeping in the barracks were white, and everyone else struggling to find a place to sleep was Black.
Security guards also struggled to find food. Although they were asked to bring their food, Cannady said many could not afford to and went hungry over 12-13 hour shifts. Sometimes the security company that hired them would provide breakfast or lunch, but generally, this was done on an ad hoc basis and was not consistent. Cannady claimed one morning, they gave everyone only a Twinkie or a Moon Pie.
These problems were only one part of the issue many saw with how the security guards were treated.
"There are roughly one-hundred and fifty security guards on our campground, 95 percent Black. Adjacent to our campground is another security guard company, mostly White. Based on my experience here, a racial undertone does exist," Cannady wrote, adding that the white security guards for Golden Voice Security Guards often harassed the Black guards working for the other subcontractors.
Cannady compared them to the Ku Klux Klan and said they had "zero regard or respect for the chain of command." According to him, the Black security guards let this happen because many were afraid of losing their jobs.
For the guards who spoke to The Daily Beast, there was little that they could do to change things. They said the contractors would fire anyone who complained and could easily find replacements who would work under those conditions.
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