Members of a Massachusetts local Teamsters Union sent a pre-Labor Day message to the cast and crew of Bravo TV’s popular show “Top Chef” in the form of threats, vandalism, and degrading remarks directed against the show’s co-host Padma Lakshmi.
Although the event happened in June, the event is just now receiving attention.
It occurred at the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, Mass., where they were shooting a segment of the upcoming “Top Chef: Boston.” The Teamsters were picketing the restaurant because a producer’s hiring decision.
The picketing, which is their right, quickly got ugly when the “truck drivers started screaming racist, homophobic and sexist slurs at the cast and crew,” according to the New York Post, which reported:
When production wrapped, the “Top Chef” crew found that tires were slashed on 14 of their cars. Milton police confirmed to Deadline.com that the union members — angry because the show didn’t use the Teamsters and hired local PAs instead — were “threatening, heckling and harassing,” but they said no arrests were made.
When I asked on Monday if it was true that Lakshmi was scared witless and too intimidated to speak, her publicist replied, “Thanks so much for your concern. We can’t comment on this. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.”
The Teamsters tried to disrupt production by storming into the restaurant while screaming at the cast and crew, according to Deadline.com.
“It was pretty scary,” a “Top Chef” crew member told Deadline.com. “They slammed our guys with their chests, screaming at them face to face — ‘Go back to LA you f**king scabs! This isn’t your f**king town! You’re taking our jobs.’ ”
But the most vile taunts were directed at Lakshmi. When her car pulled up to the restaurant, one of the picketers “ran up to her car and screamed, ‘We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you f**king whore!’”
“She was scared,” said a Top Chef crew member who witnessed the incident. “He was screaming at her aggressively and violently.”
A Bravo senior Production vice president, Jenn Levy, also got her share of taunts. According to Deadline:
Arriving at the restaurant in her black SUV, she soon found herself running a gauntlet of vitriol. “She got out of her car in front of the location and quickly ran through the picket line,” a source said. “They were yelling, ‘You bitch! You slut! We’re gonna get you!’ It went on like that all day.”
John Ransom, a Townhall Finance editor, opined last year that maybe it’s time to scrap Labor Day and its vision of union goons, in favor of a 9/11 remembrance day. I wholeheartedly agree.