The strike in Hollywood is getting messy.
With both writers and actors now on strike in the entertainment industry, Hollywood is pretty much shut down. No writers means no new scripts or ideas are coming in. While the lack of actors means nothing can really be filmed either. That leaves production studios to work solely with projects that have already been fully recorded. Essentially, they got nothing going on right now.
Both sides need work, yet neither will cave to the others’ terms. In an effort to get this strike sorted out as quickly as possible, it seems production studios have begun taking creative measures to try and drain boycotters of their energy.
As first reported by LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia, NBCUniversal Studios is under investigation for allegedly trimming the leaves off of trees that had been providing strikers shade amid the California summer heat.
The idea is that by taking away the shade which covers striking guild members, boycotters will get tired and hot, forcing them to end their daily strikes early. In the end, studios hope this will affect the guild enough to sit back at the negotiating table.
The response to Universal’s tree trimming could be summed up to two overall reactions. The first, from the city of Los Angeles and tree huggers all over, is that it is illegal and harmful to trim tree leaves in such a way. According to Mejia, “Trees are essential to providing Angelenos with significant environmental and public health benefits, especially during a heatwave.” He continued to say that the trees in question aren’t even NBCUniversal’s property, but rather the city of Los Angeles.
The second response to the tree shaving is what you would expect — angry strikers. Picketters were quick to realize the objectively evil move from Universal, calling them out on social media.
NBCU released a statement on the trees, claiming that they in no way intended it as an inconvenience to strikers. “We understand that the safety tree trimming of the Ficus trees we did on Barham Blvd. has created unintended challenges for demonstrators, that was not our intention,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said in a statement. “In partnership with licensed arborists, we have pruned these trees annually at this time of year to ensure that the canopies are light ahead of the high wind season.” I don’t know anything about trees, but I know a lot about lying and that right there is complete BS.
Despite the outrage, this isn’t even the first time NBCUniversal has done something like this. Just on Monday, picketters were forced into busy streets due to construction surrounding NBCU offices. The ill-timed construction was pointed out by strikers immediately as a strike tactic.
Clearly, Universal wants to make this a war. I’m all for negotiation tactics, but this is becoming straight up dirty.
Part of me thinks Universal is wrong for this, which they are, but honestly it’s pretty creative. That said, I am still in full support of all strikers and hope they can come up with some type of plan to get back at NBCU. Maybe release a bunch of bees in the office or something? I don’t know, you guys are the creative ones. All I’m hoping for is for this thing to get interesting. Who knows, maybe this will turn from a strike to a prank war. That’s fun for everyone.