TikTok's Bryce Hall and Blake Gray Charged for Throwing Party amid COVID-19, Could Face Jail Time
The Los Angeles City Attorney announced the charges on Friday during a press conference. Hall and Gray, who share a home in the Hollywood Hills, were each charged with one misdemeanor count of constituting a public nuisance by being conducting a loud and unruly conduct gathering which threatens and interferes with public health, safety and welfare, and one misdemeanor count of violating a lawful directive during a local emergency.
Penalties include up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines if convicted. The cases will be prosecuted by Deputy City Attorney Ethan Weaver.
Reps for Hall and Gray did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Hall, 21, and Gray, 19, were charged for allegedly violating the Safer L.A. Health Order and the City's Party House Ordinance by throwing house parties on Aug. 8 and Aug. 14. On Aug. 19, the City cut the power at Hall and Gray's home.
"We allege these hosts have been incredibly irresponsible with a highly infectious disease spreading in parties banned because of it, and we allege they violated the law," said City Attorney Mike Feuer on Friday. "If you have a combined 19 million followers on TikTok in the middle of a public health crisis, you should be modeling great behavior, best practices for all of us, rather than brazenly violating the law and then posting videos about it, as we allege happened here."
Hall celebrated his 21st birthday earlier this month with a large gathering that did not follow guidelines to prevent the spread of the contagious respiratory virus, which prompted Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to follow through with his promise that he would disconnect the utilities of anyone who hosted large gatherings.
"With more than 2,000 Angelenos — and over 170,000 Americans — lost to COVID-19, we need every resident to undertake critical safeguards to stop the spread of this virus. That includes not hosting or attending parties that put themselves, their neighbors, and many others at risk," Garcetti said in a statement.
While Garcetti did not mention Hall by name, he said that "despite several warnings," the house in question had" turned into a nightclub in the Hills, hosting large gatherings in flagrant violation of our public health orders."
"The City has now disconnected utilities at this home to stop these parties that endanger our community," he said, adding that the Los Angeles Police Department issued multiple warnings prior to the disconnection.
New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz first reported that Hall's power had been shut off at his Hollywood Hills home, but that his water was still working.
A rep for Hall and the mayor's office did not respond to PEOPLE's request for comment at the time.
Video footage and photos of the party that circulated online showed people at the gathering without masks.
Hall, Gray and roommate Noah Beck have held multiple parties during the COVID-19 outbreak, and recently held one at a rental property in Encino. Lorenz reported that the Encino house still had power.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said in a statement earlier this month that large in-person gatherings, like house parties, are the "highest-risk settings" for the spread of the virus.