Birthday Backlash! Rita Ora Apologizes & Offers To Pay $13,000 Fine After Pandemic Party
Singer Rita Ora is not getting off easy for her "inexcusable" 30th birthday party bash with over 30 friends while the U.K. is in lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The pop star offered to pay a $13,399 (£10,000) fine after she and her famous friends partied in a restaurant on Saturday, November 28.
"Hello all, I attended a small gathering with some friends to celebrate my 30th birthday," Ora wrote in a statement. "It was a spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that we were coming out of lockdown and this would be OK … I’m deeply sorry for breaking the rules and in turn understand that this puts people at risk.
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"Given the restrictions, I realise how irresponsible these actions were and I take full responsibility.
"I feel particularly embarrassed knowing first-hand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness and being fully aware of the sacrifices that people and businesses have made to help keep us all safe. Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise," the statement concluded.
Ora and her guests spent the evening at the Casa Cruz restaurant in Notting Hill, West London, with over 30 people in attendance. Guests included Cara and Poppy Delevingne, reality star Vas Morgan and Ora’s sister, Elena.
Police even visited the restaurant and were spotted as they peered through the windows and tried to open the door.
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A source told The Sun that "Rita and her sister came to the restaurant first, all dolled up and clearly looking forward to a good night."
"There were a number of guests, all dressed up very glamorously, and everyone entered the building through the back, with security watching the front to make sure no one else went in," the insider added. "It went on until the early hours."
Meanwhile, the sole director of the restaurant, Nicholas Fallows, said that it was the first he had heard about the party and that the restaurant was “owned by shareholders.”
A government spokesperson made it clear over the weekend that: "Everyone must continue to follow the rules, or we risk losing control of this virus again." The Met Police explained, "Police were called at 9.10pm on Saturday to reports of a potential breach of COVID regulations in W11."
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Social media did not seem to accept Ora’s apology. "I feel like they do it because they almost feel exempt from the consequences due to being celebrities and think an apology after is going to make up for potential spread across the city. Great role model @RitaOra Wish I could have celebrated my birthday back in May with a party," one user tweeted.
"What bothers me is that 30 of her friends also thought this was a good idea," another said.
"Happy 30th birthday! Hopefully now you are mature enough now to realise your actions have real world consequences. Not only have you risked spreading it amongst your guests you have also told your fans, a lot of them young and impressionable that it’s fine to flout the rules," a third fan told the "How We Do" singer over social media.
Ora held the party days before the national lockdown in the U.K. is set to end on December 2. While in lockdown, people must stay at home and avoid contact with people they do not live with, and restaurants should only be open to takeout meals.