‘BMF’ producer suspended after threatening striking Atlanta writers

He allegedly drove his car within six feet of the protesters and admitted to trying to ‘scare’ them

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

A producer for the Starz drama “BMF” was suspended after allegedly threatening writers on a picket line Thursday seeking a new contract.

Atlanta writer Brian Egeston, who wrote the recent Dennis Quaid Amazon film “On a Wing and a Prayer,” said he and other writers picketing on Hank Aaron Drive outside Georgia State University’s football stadium, where “BMF” was shooting Thursday, when a show producer Ian Woolf drove his vehicle toward them in what Egeston saw was a threatening manner.

“When you pointed your SUV at me as though it were a weapon and slammed the breaks within six feet of writers, I felt the hate and aggression of scenarios similar to Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and others who have been harmed at the hands of hate-filled oppressors,” Egeston wrote on Twitter.

Egeston said Woolf even admitted to him he was trying to “scare” them. “Mr. Woolf,” he wrote, “your actions purveyed a deep generational hate for us. And that, sir, is a travesty for which you must be held accountable. If not by your superiors and peers, then by the people of Atlanta because the South will have something to say about what you did today.”

Lionsgate, which producers “BMF,” said Woolf has been suspended pending an investigation into the matter.

“We take acts of intimidation and threats of violence seriously and investigate them thoroughly. As we continue to investigate, we have sent home the individual involved,” a Lionsgate rep said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.

Egeston wrote: “Should you choose to remain in our city, where I will remind you that you are a guest, I beg of you to lead with love and refrain from being a drum major for hate and potential manslaughter. I pray God’s grace and mercy over your life.”

Gabriel Alejandro Garza, a Writers Guild of America strike captain, said on Twitter that he was there as well and they were able to capture Wolff on video admitting that he was trying to intimidate them.

“His maneuver could have killed us,” he wrote. “Plain and simple.”

The WGA, in a statement, said “workers should not be threatened with physical harm when exercising their right to publicly protest and picket against unfair wages and working conditions. Anyone who harms or threatens to harm a member or supporter of the Writers Guild on a picket line should be held responsible for their actions. The WGA is working closely with members who were endangered during this incident to hold this individual accountable.”

Los Angeles-based writer Tom Smuts, who was on the picket line Thursday, said on Twitter Friday morning he watched Woolf ask members of the Teamsters of Local 828 to cross the picket line but they refused.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reached out to Woolf via email, but he has not yet responded.

Since the writers strike began May 2, the union has been picketing shows in New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, among other cities. Some producers have chosen to shut down or delay production until the strike is over. Other movies and TV shows have temporarily closed down on days when picketers are outside their studios because other unions will refuse to cross the picket. Last week, Peacock’s new show “Hysteria!” closed for a day in Atlanta outside Cinelease in Covington.

WGA members and those from other unions picketed “Bad Boys 4″ last week but it was unclear what impact that had on production at OFS in Norcross.

Writers are seeking higher pay for streaming shows, minimum lengths and sizes of writers rooms and protections regarding artificial intelligence.

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