“Sharknado 3” producer the Asylum has broken its 10-day silence on a labor union strike that’s seen picketing in Burbank and Washington, D.C.
In a lengthy statement that indicated he has little interest in agreeing on a contract with the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union, Paul Bales, Asylum chief operating officer and one of the film’s producers, accused the labor union of bullying, vandalism and harassment.
“It is true that ‘Sharkando 2’ was made under an IATSE contract,” he said. “However, dealing with the New York City locals was the worst experience we’ve had in making over 200 movies. After all of the manipulation and bullying, inefficiency, overcharging, lying and featherbedding, we had absolutely no desire to repeat this experience on ‘Sharknado 3.’ The IATSE’s actions on this film have confirmed that we made the right decision.”
Picketing began March 3 outside the Burbank-based offices of “Sharknado 3″ production and has continued since then.
IATSE responded saying the Asylum is “outright lying.”
The third installment of the “Sharknado” saga brings back Ian Ziering and Tara Reid. Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter will play the president and vice president of the United States.
Bales’ full statement is below:
Before I started with The Asylum, I worked at Screen Actors Guild for almost 10 years; first as a contracts representative, and then as Director of SAGIndie. In fact, I was instrumental in unionizing the SAG business reps and still consider myself a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Five years prior to that I was West Coast Representative for the American Guild of Variety Artists. The Asylum, at my insistence, has voluntarily signed agreements with all of the entertainment unions and guilds when the budgets allowed. And while other studios have moved to Canada or elsewhere, we have chosen to keep our production business in the United States. So, to accuse me, my partners, or my company of somehow being anti-union is insulting and untrue.
It is true that “Sharknado 2” was made under an IATSE contract. However, dealing with the New York City locals was the worst experience we’ve had in making over 200 movies. After all of the manipulation and bullying, inefficiency, overcharging, lying, and featherbedding, we had absolutely no desire to repeat this experience on “Sharknado 3.”
The IATSE’s actions on this film have confirmed that we made the right decision.
Unmotivated by the crew themselves, the IATSE pulled the union members working on the film and coerced most of the non-union crew not to cross the picket line by claiming that they would never be able to join the union in the future. The replacement crew and the crew who have continued to work have been subject to everything from cyberbullying, threats, objects being thrown at them, verbal and physical intimidation, staged pedestrian accidents, and mysteriously flattened tires. Most disturbingly, the majority of the vitriol has been directed at the women on our crew, including the posting of their photographs, phone numbers, and license plate numbers to invite their harassment.
Furthermore, of the 30-40 picketers who paraded around our sets in Los Angeles and Washington and our production offices, only about three or four of them had any prior involvement in this project.
The crew was replaced within a day and production has continued unabated. The delivery and release of the film is not, and has never been, in jeopardy.
The only thing the IATSE’s 1920s shakedown tactics have achieved is the unemployment of our original crew, erroneous stories planted in the press, and the persecution of a young and dedicated crew who want nothing more than to be a part of the cinematic history that is the “Sharknado” phenomenon.
UPDATE, 12:14 p.m.PDT —
IATSE representative Vanessa Holtgrewe’s statement —
“Once again, the Asylum distinguishes themselves as not only misrepresenting the truth but outright lying about the facts. The IATSE stands with the original crew of ‘Sharknado 3’ who voted overwhelmingly for union representation. Many of the crew were on the picket lines in Los Angeles day after day, and their Facebook page, Strikenado, is filled with their testimonies, as well as those who have had the displeasure of working for the Asylum before. Like the Asylum’s original statement, which mocked this hardworking crew, this new collection of lies is nothing more than an anti-union screed.”