Fox Employee Snaps, Assualts Picketer

WGA member Rene Balcer (show runner of "Law & Order" and co-creator of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent) may have a new ripped-from-the-headlines story to write after the strike is over. Today, while picketing at the executive gate at Fox (Gate 3), Balcer was pushed numerous times by a black SUV driven by a Fox employee, as he walked legally through the crosswalk . According to one of six eyewitnesses who watched the entire incident unfold on Avenue of the Stars near Galaxy Way, Balcer was picketing the gate at about 10:15am, when the SUV approached. The driver, a man in his early 30s, was reportedly involved in a similar altercation at the same gate on Tuesday.

According to another witness, as soon as the driver got out of his car, nearby Fox strike captains yelled to the Fox security guard, but the guard did not respond. Another witness confirms that as soon as the driver exited his car, Fox strike captains tried to get the Fox security guard at the gate to come out and help, but he would not. Then, the driver "got in Balcer's face," made physical contact with him, and Balcer pushed back in self defense. The driver fell back against his car, with a startled look. Said the eyewitness, "I guess he didn't expect a writer to defend himself."

The driver got back on his feet and came at Balcer once more. Balcer took three or four steps back to keep a distance between them. Other picketers attempted to grab and restrain the driver. He shook them loose, but then scrambled back into his car. "He looked a little shaken" and was waved through the gate by the guard.

After the incident, Balcer called the police. While waiting for them, a Fox supervisor came out and was shown photos of the driver that had been taken at the time of the confrontation. About thirty minutes after the incident, the LAPD Labor squad arrived and took statements from everyone and ID'd who the driver was. They went on the lot to speak to him.


WGA-E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

The policeman, after seeing the video, was leaning towards the writers. He hunted down the prick's building. He waited in the lobby while the receptionist said the gentleman would be right down. The officer was then told to go into the second door on the right down the hallway. DON'T GO IN THAT DOOR! But he did, and the officer was never heard from again. When later asks for comment, representatives responded "RARRR" on a written statement.

Captain Obvious said...

Yeah Joseph. He stumbled into Murdoch's House of Madness.

"That's the door nobody ever comes out of," said one nervous FOX drone that spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Captain Obvious said...

Suddenly this FOX employee has another opponent in the ring:
VDOVault has a formal Permanent Alliance with Balcer...

PaperCut said...

Speaking to the policeman on the scene, Peter Chernin denied all allegations against him, despite the photographic evidence. However, due to a swift intervention by Nick Counter, any arrest in the case has been delayed until the police agree to drop all of the charges.

Seriously, glad to hear nobody got seriously hurt, and here's hoping they take the driver to task for his actions. Fire hoses have been replaced by SUVs, apparently.

reasonable said...

When he's laid off, he'll have plenty of time to think about his actions in jail.

BTL Guy said...

Let me start by saying that the driver and his actions were dead wrong. They are in no way appropriate, and no one should interpret anything else I'm about to write as defending the driver in the slightest.

Having said that, it is important to understand the incredible frustration people feel as they drive through the picket line.

Many of the people you are interfering with are the executives you mean to harass, of course. But a lot more are crew or staff for whom the layoff clock is ticking.

I know the instant retort is that people shouldn't cross the picket line. But put aside the argument of whether it's appropriate to cross the line for just a moment, and consider that, right or wrong, the frustration many people have when they cross that line is very very real.

Some of those people are your intended targets. Others, like so many of the unemployed, are your collateral damage.

So a strike captain jokes that you should set these people on fire. Well, be careful out there cos, as we've already seen, someone might explode.

I'm sure more than one person entering the lot has thought "picket line bad, fire pretty." Even in jest.

jimmy grace said...

In the studio justice system, the people are represented by two groups - the writers, who are trying to get a fair share, and the assholes, who hit them. These are their stories.


hollarback said...

Hitting someone with a car seems a tad extreme. By the time you are 30 you should be able to interact with those you disagree with without resorting to threats and violence. Not to mention using a 2 ton auto as a weapon to intimidate.

Whatta marooooon.

Anita said...

That is terrible! I hope the little prick gets punished! (He won't, of course!) I also hope that guard gets moved, so he doesn't get 'accidentally' hit either! I can't believe he didn't say or do anything!

Glad to hear the writer is okay (he IS okay! Right?).

VDOVault said...

On behalf of Law & Order and Law & Order Criminal Intent fans not to mention the more than 2600 members of the Live Journal Community wga_supporters we are pleased to hear that Rene Balcer was uninjured in this incident and he and all of the picketers at Fox have our best wishes

However do not think for a moment that Peter Chernin, Rupert Murdoch, Fox and News Corp. will not receive some form of payback from the many viewers and fans and supporters of Balcer's work and the work of other WGA writers for allowing this incident to occur on their premises. When we have decided what action we think is appropriate to take, we will make an announcement at that time.

Rest assured that what we do will be in the interests of a fair and just deal for all those who create TV shows and films.

S.E. Olson
Moderator & Law & Order Criminal Intent Fan Liason
Co-Maintainer Crime Doesn't Pay

Geo Rule said...

I guess it's wrong of me to wish the picketers had stripped the *sshole nekkid and sent him into the lot on foot, without his SUV? Then posted the video on youtube?

Bad geo! Naughty geo!

Ashley Gable said...

To BTL Guy: I am glad that you agree the actions of the SUV driver were dead wrong.

However, I am puzzled by something else you said: "Many of the people you are interfering with are the executives you mean to harass, of course. But a lot more are crew or staff for whom the layoff clock is ticking."

Picketers aren't interfering or harassing (or "targeting"). They are trying to make people mindful of the strike. "We're here and we're not leaving until we get a fair deal." That's the message.

And the actions they're taking to get that message across are pretty darn unobjectionable: crossing the street at the crosswalk. Waving at cars and trying to get them to honk. People bring their children to the pickets, for heaven's sake. It's not Vietnam out there.

And if a driver can't take a few seconds to wait for the light to turn and the picketers to grab a sidewalk, an extreme level of frustration is a little unusual. Maybe the driver should consider arriving to work before the picketers arrive if he or she is that worked up about a little delay.

Also, writers think it sucks that a layoff clock ticks for anyone, especially our coworkers in TV and film. But the frustration engendered by hearing that particular clock should be directed not at the writers but at the employers, who would rather lay people off than get back to the negotiating table.

To everyone else: It is very inappropriate even to joke about violence or payback to the other side because of this incident. The worst possible thing for the writers and this strike would be if things were to escalate and someone -- anyone -- got seriously hurt. Please do all that you can to chill yourselves and your friends out. Thanks.

BTL Guy said...


I agree with everything you say about adults needing to be adults and not letting this frustration turn into physical anger.

But a few of minor points:

1) One of the goals of the picket is to disrupt productions. It is a goal to make people late for their call times. It is a goal to be loud enough to make shots unusable.

I'm not saying these are unreasonable goals, just saying that they are part of the plan. It's not just drawing attention to the strike, as you say, but using the picket line to disrupt daily business of those being struck.

2) Drivers have to do more than "wait a few seconds" to get past the pickets. When picketers take up the entire driveway for the entire light, maybe one car per green can make a right turn into the lot.

So you either have to wait for the light to cycle 5-6 times, or make a U-turn somewhere down the road, come back and make a left into the studio.

Again, this should not make you want to run someone over; but it is a pain, it can add ten minutes to your commute, and it is aggravating. In short, it's a little more of an annoyance than you describe.

3) Some picketers -- you know who you are -- meander through the driveway even after the little crosswalk man has turned red.

I've seen it happen - at Fox - where someone is trying to make the turn, then gets stuck in the middle of oncoming traffic because picketers won't get out of the path of the oncoming car.

I'm not suggesting that Rene did this. I'm saying that some picketers act this way, then act innocent about it.

No one likes being the car blocking oncoming traffic, and getting honked at by drivers who are either angry at the blockage, or supporting the strike or both.

I've seen more than one vehicle "nudging" a picketer out of the way because of this.

It's wrong but, in the cases I've witnessed, it's not entirely unprovoked.

Aryoch said...

> vdovault wrote:
> "When we have decided what
> action we think is appropriate to take, we will
> make an announcement at that time."

vdovault: I understand your anger towards AMPTP people, but please take a dose of reality. I think you have a bit of an exaggerated sense of yourself here, and the importance or impact of some guy running a tiny little internet chat page.

Seriously. When people come to this site and read stuff like your comment, I imagine they laugh and laugh.

I'm sure Rupert Murdoch is shaking in his boots that some peonic live journal guy is coming for him.

There is an old internet term for this kind of superfluous tough talk on a newsgroup or forum: CRT Warrior.

It isn't a term of endearment.

kullervo said...

We writers take vdovault and WGA_Supporters very seriously. You know who else takes them seriously? Advertisers.