Teamsters deny harassing Top Chef film crew

“Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi
“Top Chef” host Padma LakshmiMichael Loccisano/Getty Images

MILTON — A day after reports spread online that local Teamsters had harassed a film crew for the television show “Top Chef” in June, a union official on Thursday unequivocally denied that members took part in any abuse.

“As far as we’re concerned, it didn’t happen,” said Melissa Hurley, a spokeswoman for Teamsters Local 25.

The website Deadline.com first reported that members of the union shouted racial and homophobic slurs at cast members outside Steel & Rye restaurant on Eliot Street.

RELATED: Source confirms ‘Top Chef’ harassment by local Teamsters

The Deadline.com report said union members were upset that Bravo, the network that produces “Top Chef,” hired nonunion workers for filming around Boston.


A source close to the network, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, later confirmed the reports to the Globe, including accusations that the Teamsters slit the tires of some cars parked outside the restaurant.

Late Thursday, Hurley released a statement from Sean M. O’Brien, president of Teamsters Local 25, saying that “the ‘Top Chef’ situation as it is written is fiction at best.

“As a union, we have the right to lawfully demonstrate and protest the filming of nonunion, non-Massachusetts workers. We have fought long and hard to protect our members, their livelihoods, and will continue to do so. If the allegations were true, Milton police would have taken appropriate action.”

Milton police declined to comment or release a report about the episode, saying that the investigation is ongoing.

Bravo also declined to comment Thursday, though the source close to the network said the film crew had a largely positive stay in Boston.

“We don’t want to let this one [problem] tarnish our experience there,” the source said, adding that network officials met with crew members around the time of the episode and “worked very hard to protect” them.


Steel & Rye owner Dan Kerrigan declined to comment.

William Kring, a graduate student who lives near the restaurant, recalls Eliot Street being clogged with traffic on the morning of the “Top Chef” filming in early June, a jam only exacerbated when several police officers showed up later in the day.

“It was a nightmare down here,” Kring said.

Giancarlo Francesconi, owner of the nearby Radio Coffeehouse, said he saw several cars with passenger-side tires slashed near Steel & Rye that day.

“I want to say it was like 10 cars,” Francesconi said.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at zachary.sampson@globe.com.