Four Boston Teamsters who allegedly terrorized the cast and crew of Top Chef back in 2014 will go on trial this summer on charges that they tried to extort jobs on Bravo’s hit TV show. U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock today set July 31 as the start date for the trial of Local 25 members Michael Ross, John Fidler, Robert Cafarelli and Daniel Redmond.
Mark Harrington, the local’s former secretary-treasurer, pleaded guilty to the same charges in December and is serving six months of home confinement. He’s also been ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and restitution of $24,000.
The other four, who pleaded not guilty, decided to take their chances before a jury.
As first reported by Deadline, the five men were among a dozen or so members of Teamsters Local 25 who had set up a picket line on June 10, 2014, outside the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, a suburb of Boston, where the show was filming. When Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi arrived at the restaurant, one of the Teamsters rushed her car and screamed, “We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you f*cking whore!”
The Teamsters kept at it for hours, raining down racist, sexist and homophobic threats and slurs as staffers came to and left the set. Jenn Levy, Bravo’s SVP Production, wasn’t spared. Arriving at the restaurant in her black SUV, she soon found herself running a gauntlet of vitriol. “She got out of her car in front of the location and quickly ran through the picket line,” a source said. “They were yelling, ‘You bitch! You slut! We’re gonna get you!’ It went on like that all day.”
It’s still not clear who made the threats, and none of the men was charged with harassment. But according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, all five of the accused were observed by the show’s crew “standing in close proximity to cars belonging to the crew, nine of which were later found to have had their tires slashed.”