ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman is beefin’ with 50 Cent.
The rapper-actor-entrepreneur was the headliner for a private Super Bowl 55 party in a hangar at Albert Whitted Airport on Friday night. But photos posted the day after by tabloid website extraordinaire TMZ show a crowded, mostly-maskless event held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor tweeted his displeasure Saturday and suggested that fines may be imminent.
“This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl,” Kriseman wrote. “It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”
The mayor’s spokesman told the Tampa Bay Times in an email that city officials are investigating the party and the role of the airport management company. However, no information will be released until next week.
Celebrities such as Curtis “50 Cent/Fiddy” Jackson and DJ’s Diplo and Steve Aoki are being paid to host Super Bowl events across the Tampa Bay area.
This St. Petersburg event with 50 Cent and Tampa’s DJ Fresh was supposed to be “limited capacity” with masks required. TMZ reported that admission started at $85 to $7,000 for a table. What instead transpired is what TMZ called a “COVID-oblivious” event where masks were sparse.
For you trivia buffs, Saturday was the 18th anniversary of 50 Cent’s debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’, the best-selling U.S. album of 2003 (it lost the Grammy for best rap album to Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.)
TMZ also reported that DJ Steve Aoki headlined a Friday night pool party at the WTR Pool & Grill at The Godfrey Hotel Tampa off the Courtney Campbell Causeway. That party was also well-attended and mostly maskless, TMZ reported, and Aoki sprayed guests with champagne.
The pandemic guidelines for Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and St. Petersburg and Tampa are all similar and call for patrons to wear masks in businesses. In St. Petersburg, Kriseman issued an executive order mandating masks.
However, Knight Global Entertainment, which owns and operates popular downtown bars such as Jannus Live, MacDinton’s Irish Pub and the Pelican Pub, recently argued in court that the mayor’s order is unenforceable. The company is fighting 13 citations issued after the city says it caught bar employees failing to to wear masks and enforce social distancing.
50 Cent was scheduled to host another party, a Super Bowl 55 watch party on Sunday, in the Rox rooftop bar atop Tampa’s Current Hotel off N Rocky Point Drive.
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Tampa Bay Times Super Bowl 55 coverage
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