Source confirms ‘Top Chef’ harassment by local Teamsters
Bravo would not comment Wednesday on a Deadline.com report that members of the local Teamsters Union used racist, sexist, and homophobic language to harass and intimidate “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi and staff while the popular food show was in town shooting its new season. A source close to the network did tell us that details of the Deadline account are true, but said the incident outside Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton was isolated. Though police were called on that occasion, the source said there were no other problems while “Top Chef” filmed around Boston in May and June. We’ve heard that threats by members of Teamsters Local 25 did prompt Bravo to change the locations of some tapings. According to Deadline, the Teamsters, upset that Bravo hired nonunion personnel to drive trucks carrying cameras and crew, picketed outside Steel & Rye, hurling insults and expletives at Lakshmi and others associated with the show. “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you [expletive] whore,” one Teamster allegedly screamed. Attempts to reach Teamsters officials were unsuccessful Wednesday. 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.