A day of picketing the set of the Starz/Lionsgate series BMF in Atlanta turned dangerous for WGA writers Brian Egeston and Gabriel Alejandro Garza. Egeston claimed in a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, accompanied by photos, that BMF line producer Ian Woolf, driving an SUV, pointed the vehicle at Egeston “as though it were a weapon and slammed the breaks within six feet of writers.”
Egeston’s account was corroborated by Garza, a strike captain, who said that he was standing next to Egeston when the alleged incident happened and described it in a lengthy statement on Twitter Thursday evening. Garza claimed that he and Egeston were on a public sidewalk, not impending traffic, when Woolf allegedly hit the accelerator, followed by the break as “he was looking directly at us the entire time and kept the vehicle pointed at us.”
Both Egeston, who has written on House of Payne, Perfect Harmony and The Game, and Garza (The Flash, The Winchesters), said that they were peacefully protesting and that Woolf’s explanation for his behavior was that he “tried to scare us.”
Garza claimed that they have a recording of Woolf’s admission, in which he also identifies himself.
TV writer Tom Smuts, who is married to WGA West president Meredith Stiehm, in a Twitter post early Friday, provided an eyewitness account of the events that transpired after Woolf “used his SUV to threaten and intimidate Brian Egeston and fellow WGA member Gabe Garza.”
Smuts confirmed Egeston and Garza’s claims that they were told repeatedly by Woolf he was trying to scare them so [picketers] would go away. He also said he witnessed Woolf as he “desperately pleaded with the Teamsters of Local 728 to cross our picket lines, and they refused.”
When Woolf was unable to convince the Teamsters to cross the picket lines, he attempted to do the work himself at a parking lot located on Hank Aaron Drive. As per Smuts, Woolf was “opening trailers, turning on generators, driving picture cars to set, etc.”
Lionsgate has launched an investigation into the incident. It is as yet unknown whether Woolf is being paid during the investigation.
“We take acts of intimidation and threats of violence seriously and investigate them thoroughly,” the company said in a statement to Deadline. “As we continue to investigate, we have sent home the individual involved.”
A spokesperson from the WGA condemns anyone who threatens picketers and confirms they’re working with those involved in the incident.
“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 statement from the Guild reads.
“The WGA is working closely with members who were endangered during this incident to hold this individual accountable,” they added.
Deadline has reached to Egeston, Garza Woolf and their representatives.
Woolf has various social media accounts, including Twitter, IG and FB, which were visible until 8-830 PM Thursday when they were made private. As word of the alleged incident started to spread, Woolf’s social media accounts became littered with critical and sometimes aggressive comments before they were disabled.
Meanwhile, writers, sharing Egeston’s “Open Letter To The Man Who Almost Killed Me On the WGA WGA Picket Line Today,” showed their resolve and solidarity.
“I would implore you, in hindsight, to consider the ramifications of killing an African-American man in the streets of the city too busy to hate, while being the producer of an African-American TV show, created by an African American man, run by an African-American Man,” Egeston wrote in his letter, referring to BMF created by Randy Huggins and executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, among others.
Woolf’s recent credits also include ABC’s Queens; first AD in Netflix’s Bridgerton; Unit production manager on FX’s Mr. Mercedes and CBS’ Criminal Minds; Producer of CBS/Paramount+ SEAL Team.