As the lockdown in Germany is extended every few weeks and more intensive measures are implemented in seemingly unsuccessful attempts to minimize COVID infections, we are all looking for a way to relax. I’m sure everyone would enjoy a normal party right now; being able to listen to music, dance, and drink with friends without constant fear of the virus. We may all crave it, but that doesn’t mean it’s fair given our current circumstances. And it definitely doesn’t mean that a party full of famous people will go unnoticed in this climate.
Italian luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta is facing heavy criticism after hosting a fashion show to present its Salon 02 collection in the concrete halls of Berghain on Friday, followed by an afterparty at Soho House in Mitte. Local celebrities such as Oumi Janta, Honey Dijon and Sven Marquart were in attendance, as well as internationally known names such as rappers Skepta, Slowthai and Burna Boy, American designer Virgil Abloh and Daniel Lee, creative director of Bottega Veneta. Photos and videos of the afterparty at Soho House were shared on social media and showed no social distancing, masks or compliance with the increasingly strict cordon measures.
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Members of Berlin’s Soho House cancel their memberships to signal their disapproval of the chic hotel and Member’s Club. “Due to the pandemic and its regulations, which I fully support, I have not been allowed to enter the Member’s Club of Soho House for half a year. I’ve paid full membership dues the entire time and never complained,” says Chris Walter, who has been a member of the club for six years. “Why would Soho House host an exclusive after-party and completely ignore, violate and mock our health care system, the health of their employees, German law and, of course, their club members?” He specified that it is people like him who fund the club and make its existence possible. Several other members shared that they have cancelled their memberships.
This behavior naturally leads to questions about how lockdown and quarantine measures do not seem to apply to people with privilege. The employees who risked their health at Soho House reportedly earned minimum wage, while the hotel took in hundreds of thousands of euros. BerlinClubMemes shared memes criticizing the party throughout the weekend. “Rich people from all over the world attended these events, amid a Germany-wide lockdown and rising corona numbers,” the site’s owner wrote. “Thanks a lot, idiots!”