Amidst backlash against a drive-in show by The Chainsmokers, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for an investigation into the event by the New York Department of Health.
“Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations,” Cuomo tweeted Monday (July 27). “I am appalled. The Department of Health will conduct an investigation. We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.”
The July 25 show happened in a 100-acre outdoor sculpture park in The Hamptons, with tickets running between $1,250-$25,000 and proceeds going to a variety of charities. While organizers implemented myriad safety precautions — including masks and temperature checks upon entry — video of the event that appeared on social media showed a large crowd gathered in front of the stage. Photos also showed people — some with masks and some without — gathering outside of their cars.
In New York, face coverings are mandated when people are in public and are within 6 feet of other individuals, or are in a setting where social distancing isn’t possible. The state is currently in Phase 4 of reopening.
“The video that everyone is talking about was taken from an angle that doesn’t properly convey how careful we were to follow the guidelines created by the CDC,” reads a statement provided to Billboard by event organizers In the Know Experiences and Invisible Noise. “We did everything in our power to enforce New York’s social distancing guidelines and collaborated with all state and local health officials to keep everyone safe.”
A source close to the event tells Billboard that 80 police officers were on site during the event and would have written citations to anyone breaking public safety protocols. Billboard has reached out to The Chainsmokers and Nova’s Ark Project, where the concert was held.
With COVID-19 spiking across the country, Cuomo is joining a legion of online commenters who expressed their concern with the show, which was presented by JAJA Tequila. (The Chainsmokers’ Alex Pall and Drew Taggart are stakeholders of the liquor brand.) The duo was recently listed at No. 21 on Forbes list of the highest paid celebrities, with an estimated net worth of $68 million.
Other participants in this well-moneyed controversy included Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who plays as DJ D-Sol; Southampton’s Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who served as one of the openers; and Southampton Mayor Jesse Warren who MC’d the event.