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Longtime Los Angeles Barman Marcos Tello Accused of Sexual Assault

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Multiple women come forward to describe a frightening pattern of horrifying behavior

Marcos Tello
Joshua Lurie

Longtime Los Angeles mixologist Marcos Tello faces serious accusations of sexual assault leveled against him by several women, some of whom allowed their names to be used for a new story over at Neat Pour. The extensively-researched piece also speaks on the record to several women who have chosen to remain anonymous, fearing reprisal from within the small Los Angeles bar scene.

A word of warning for anyone wishing to read the Neat Pour story: it details graphic allegations of abuse and assault by Tello, including several accusations of unwanted sexual conduct. One named accuser, Lauren Trickett, filed a police report with the Culver City police department alleging sodomy.

The story points to a pattern wherein Tello would allegedly use his outsized influence in the local cocktail industry to coerce women into staying out late and consuming several drinks. According to Neat Pour, Tello would allegedly isolate them from friends and peers before pressuring the women alone (and according to the report, often using force) into non-consensual sex.

Another named accuser, Ria Soler, is well known in the Los Angeles bar scene, having spent time at places like The Varnish. She tells Neat Pour:

“I would not have come forward with this, and indeed, had pushed it all the way to the back of my mind, had I not heard the far more harrowing stories from the other women that he has assaulted,” Soler wrote. “It is my hope that if I fight past my own fear of recrimination, disbelief, and censure, that other women who are far more traumatized then I am will feel emboldened to share their stories and not hide in shame of what someone else has done.”

Eater reached out Tello directly to discuss the story, but so far has not received a response back.

Eater independently reached out to several women named in the article, including Soler and Trickett, to confirm their accounts as told to Neat Pour and to get permission to use their names here. Eater also spoke to several people from within the bar industry as a whole, who reported hearing longstanding, but uncorroborated, rumors surrounding Tello.

This is the first time that several women have come forward at once, particularly on the record, to discuss these longstanding allegations.

Tello himself has denied the allegations to Neat Pour. His deal as brand ambassador with El Silencio mezcal has been severed. In addition, Tello’s recent contracting work at places like Downtown’s Birds & Bees ended in April while his more recent stint at The Flats in Beverly Hills was terminated on December 1. One female publicist mentioned in the story who has known and worked with Tello professionally for years, Lawrence Moore, tells Eater that she is stunned by the allegations and does not have plans to work with him moving forward.

Update: Ownership for Birds & Bees sends in the following statement regarding the Neat Pour article:

We were very disturbed to read of the recent allegations against Marcos Tello, and we commend the courage of the women who have come forward to share their stories.

Birds & Bees has not worked with Mr. Tello since April 2017, which marked the end of our consulting contract with Template Consulting.

A recent article suggests that Birds & Bees terminated an employee after she raised concerns about Mr. Tello’s dealings with other individuals who are not associated or employed with Birds & Bees. Some of the facts in this article are not accurate. We requested the meeting with Ms. Ham in November of this year to inform her that we felt that it was time for both sides to move on. After we informed her of this decision, she brought up some of the allegations against Marcos Tello. However, our decision to separate from our employee was made prior to this meeting and had nothing to do with Mr. Tello. We highly respect Ms. Ham and wish her all the best.

We regret that we have become part of this story. Birds & Bees does not tolerate or condone any such behavior. We are committed to providing a healthy working environment for our employees while continuing to provide a great experience for our guests.

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