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August 21 2014

Teamsters Slash Tires, Threaten Top Chef Host

National Review - The Corner
Jillian Kay Melchior

After Bravo declined to hire workers from Teamsters Local 25, several members showed up to protest a June Top Chef filming at a restaurant in Milton, Massachusetts, screaming racist, sexist and homophobic threats at host Padma Lakshmi and her team, Deadline.com reports.

By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you f[*]cking whore!”

… Jenn Levy, Bravo’s SVP Production, wasn’t spared. Arriving at the restaurant in her black SUV, she soon found herself running a gauntlet of vitriol. “She got of her car in front of the location and quickly ran through the picket line,” a source said. “They were yelling, ‘You b[*]tch! You slut! We’re gonna get you!’ It went on like that all day.”

John King, Milton’s Deputy Police Chief, said the Teamsters were “threatening, heckling and harassing.” The first officer on the scene, he said, had to call for back-up after the Teamsters “gave the officer trouble.” Reading from the police report, he said the Teamsters were “hostile, swearing, and refusing to let people come in and out. Officers repeatedly tried to de-escalate the situation.”

When more police arrived, the Teamsters went to the show’s hospitality tent and “harassed the crew there.” When the officers went there, King said, “A group of them slashed the tires on 14 different cars owned by the crew.”

Boston Herald article today confirmed the incident:

Milton police confirmed that the union members were “threatening, heckling and harassing” but said no arrests were made. The union protest was confined to just that one day during “Top Chef’s” two-month shoot.

Local 25 president Sean O’Brien was out of town and unavailable for comment yesterday, according to spokeswoman Melissa Hurley.

“As far as we’re concerned, nothing happened,” Hurley said. “This is typical of nonunion companies who often make excuses for why they won’t hire union labor.”

This isn’t the first time Massachusetts Teamsters have tangled with Hollywood, the Boston Globe reports:

Historically, the relationship between Hollywood and the Charlestown-based Teamsters Local 25 has been volatile. Following the 1978 filming in Boston of “The Brink’s Job,” directed by William Friedkin and produced by Dino DeLaurentiis, two members of the Teamsters were convicted on racketeering charges. At the time, DeLaurentiis said hiring pressure from the Teamsters added $1 million to production costs. For many years, that and similar incidents had a chilling effect on the state’s efforts to lure Hollywood to the Hub.

Read the rest here.

— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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