With four Teamsters acquittals over allegedly extorting ‘Top Chef’ producers, Massachusetts’ film industry may die out entirely.
Now that a judge has acquitted four Teamsters on charges of extortion earlier this week, the question as to whether the film industry in Massachusetts will pick up again remains an open question.
The four Teamsters accused of hurling racial epithets and sexist slurs at a “Top Chef” crew filming in Milton in 2014 were acquitted Tuesday in a high-profile case that tested the line between illegal strong-arm tactics and legitimate union advocacy.
Since the 2014 incident that ‘terrified‘ Top Chef producer Padma Lakshmi, the Bay State’s film industry has seen a significant decrease in the amount of shows being filmed in the state.
“In 2013, 10 shows filmed their seasons or episodes in Massachusetts,” according to the Boston Herald, “including a season of TLC’s ‘I Found the Gown’ and an episode of Spike’s ‘Bar Rescue,’ according to the Massachusetts Film Office website. In 2014, 11 shows besides “Top Chef” filmed here, including ABC’s ‘Boston EMS’ and A&E’s ’60 Seconds to Sell.'”
“But only three shows are listed as having filmed in the Bay State in 2015 and three in 2016, mainly Massachusetts-centric shows such as ‘Wahlburgers’ and ‘Wicked Tuna.’ Only ‘House Hunters International’ is listed so far for 2017,” reported the Herald.
The high-profile incident and resulting trial of the four Teamsters came at a time when the Teamsters were starting to turn the corner from their notoriously thuggish past in the film industry had kept Hollywood out of Massachusetts for years.
In an ironic twist, last year, Mark Harrington, a fifth Teamster and the former secretary and treasurer of Teamsters Local 25, pled guilty to the same charges that the four Teamsters were acquitted of and was, subsequently, sentenced to six months of home confinement.
Now that the Teamsters have been acquitted, giving the union’s brutal form of “protesting” a certain legal legitimacy, one must wonder whether not any sane producer will ever dare to film in Beantown again.