Padma Lakshmi and other staffers in the Top Chef production company were allegedly harassed and threatened during filming of Top Chef season 12 in the Boston area this summer.
The Teamsters union was reportedly suffering heartburn because the show hired non-union production assistants as drivers and began picketing one eatery where the show was filming an episode.
According to information just revealed by Deadline Hollywood, Padma Lakshmi understandably felt threatened by the behavior of the union operatives:
By the time Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s car pulled up to the Steel & Rye restaurant in the picturesque New England town of Milton just outside Boston, one of them ran up to her car and screamed, ‘We’re gonna bash that pretty face in, you fucking whore!’
‘She was scared,” said a Top Chef crewmember who witnessed the incident… ‘He was screaming at her aggressively and violently.'”
The picketers also shouted racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs at Top Chef staffers as they arrived at the location and also allegedly vandalized their vehicles, including slashing tires.
No one was physically harmed fortunately. Cops made no arrests at the scene either, although the Milton, Mass., police department acknowledged that about a dozen union picketers engaged in threatening, heckling, and harassing behavior on that day, which apparently was an isolated incident during the Top Chef filming schedule in the area, the Boston Herald reported.
The crewmember told Deadline that for a 12-hour period “As any employee of our show walked on or off set, the picketers verbally attacked us, calling the gays ‘f-gs,’ the blacks ‘n—–s’ and most of the women ‘sluts and whores’… They threatened to kill us, beat us, and said that they would find us and force us out of the city…”
Top Chef executives and the Bravo network have as yet made no comment on the incident. Padma Laskshmi has also declined to comment. A union representative claimed that “as far as we’re concerned, nothing happened.”
The Top Chef diva, who has a daughter from a relationship with Adam Dell, computer mogul Michael Dell’s brother, is apparently dating actor Richard Gere.
Top Chef season 12 premieres on Bravo on October 15. Padma Lakshmi previously revealed that she is prohibited from speaking with the cheftestants unless the cameras are rolling. An actress, model, and cookbook author, Padma Lakshmi has been the host/judge of the popular cooking reality show competition since 2006 when she took for Billy Joel’s ex-wife Katie Lee.