The cast and crew of Top Chef were not greeted with a tea party upon arriving in Boston to film the show's upcoming 12th season, which debutsWednesday, Oct. 15 on Bravo.
According to a new report from Deadline, host Padma Lakshmi and other Top Chef crew members were verbally attacked by picketing Teamsters in June after the series hired local production assistants to drive cast and crew vehicles.
One member of the Boston's Teamsters Local 25 allegedly screamed at Lakshmi as she arrived on location at Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, Mass. just outside Boston, "We're gonna bash that pretty face in, you f---ing whore!"
A dozen or more picketers reportedly yelled racist, sexist and homophobic threats and slurs for hours outside the set that day. Per Deadline, no one was injured or arrested, but the tires of several production vehicles were slashed and antennae were broken off. The harassment continued for two weeks while the crew was filming. "I was scared to go to work," one unnamed crew member told the website. "We had to face this nightmare daily until we wrapped the show." After describing the situation to the local labor board, the crew member was allegedly told there was nothing the board could do.
Milton Deputy Police Chief John King confirmed to Deadline that the Teamsters were "threatening, heckling and harassing."
The same crew member quoted above is also claiming that Bravo's network representatives and Top Chef's executive producers did little to stop the harassment. "They never addressed the problem with the staff, or apologized for putting us in such a bad situation," the person told Deadline. "They never called a meeting with us, or sent the employees an email acknowledging what a terrible situation they put us all in."