Uninhabited brooms become a flashpoint – the Hollywood Reporter

“Stop the scan! Stop the scan! Stop the scan!”

On March 17, a group of protesters chanted in the compound of City Hall James K. Han in East Los Angeles, holding handwritten signs with the caption “Stop the war on the poor” and “Evacuation from a killing camp.” Then a director called a cut on this scene from the Freeform drama Good trouble, About 20 years old who live in the neighborhood. When the artists calmed down, a homeless activist from real life stepped forward, spoke using a megaphone. “Okay, hey, hey all of you, I have to let you all know the irony of this,” he said, revealing his own “toilet no broom” shirt through an unbuttoned jacket and claiming that the filming of the production began evacuating the uninitiated hours earlier . “Do you understand the sharing of all of you?”

Activists claim Good troubleThe filming of – videos from the event quickly attracted stormy internet attention – is just one example of the growing friction of Hollywood productions with non-deported residents. A 2020 report from news site Knock LA reported that Apple TV +’s To be honest More than 75 uninhabited people were displaced, also near the East City Hall; Endeavor Content, the producer of the show, rejected the report. The following spring, a local Fox station reported allegations that the 2021 Oscars ceremony at Union Station uprooted people who had not been housed. (City Councilman Kevin de Leon, whose county includes the station, denied they had to move apartment.)

Downtown Los Angeles served for a century as the urban starting point of the entertainment industry, and its 54-block Skid Row, which began in the late 19th century, complicated it. However, as the number of filming days in the Los Angeles area has increased recently and the homeless crisis in the area continues (according to the last Los Angeles County homeless census, in January 2020, more than 66,000 people lived on streets, shelters and vehicles), visitors It is claimed that the productions are causing a stir in the city. Meanwhile, staff members say they are just trying to do their allowed business within a complicated space. God Good trouble The incident has become a flashpoint of an endlessly larger civil conflict, one in which Hollywood Labor Day finds itself at the center.

“There are sweeps that happen to filming all the time,” said Christina Melsky, of Street Watch LA. Its organization argues that Section 41.18 of the Los Angeles Municipal Law – which prohibits people from sitting, lying down, sleeping or storing personal belongings in a manner that may interfere with a publicly authorized municipal permit – could allow the displacement of people not towed for photography when production has a photographic permit. , But even when section 41.18 was not in the law, swipes for photographic purposes were “permanent”.

Meskelsky says that in some cases production tries to clear space on purpose, while in others the city distances people from a specific area in favor of production. “The most important thing is that the industry takes responsibility for its role in what the city does in sweeps,” she says.

Joanna Johnson, Good troubleThe actual producer of, tweeted on March 18 that her production had been unfairly defamed. “We had nothing to do with this planned sweep,” she wrote. “We never move anyone so we can take pictures. We let the non-resident community know a week in advance when we are taking pictures.”

Pete Brown, the communications director of councilor de Leon, in whose district the incident took place, says there were two incidents around the East City Hall on March 17th. The first was “Operation Housing” (which included evacuating a tent) in Toriomi Plaza, about two blocks away, which, according to Brown, extended to the East City area and included housing offers. The second was a regular Thursday wash (known as “Care + Cleanup”), which requires unoccupied people to move and move their belongings, and he said it happened by chance on the same day. Brown says the filming had “absolutely no connection” to what happened. Brown says Field Leon, who is running for mayor and was appointed chairman of the City Council’s Homelessness and Poverty Committee in November 2021, and his bureau does not currently enforce 41.18.

Activists claim the Torium Square clearance was separate from the scan in question, which took place along Main Street. “It was near the production vehicles for the photos,” says Devon Tsuno, a member of J-Town Action and Solidarity, who noticed LAPD officers guarding a contiguous area while city sanitation workers removed tents from two living people. On the sidewalk in adjacent frames, including a disabled elderly woman. Tsuno, one of two eyewitnesses to the incident who Hollywood Reporter Talked to him, adding that according to his count more than two dozen uninhabited people living in the immediate area were injured.

Industry professionals have developed different approaches to dealing with the challenges of working in areas with uninhabited people. A veteran location manager who asked to remain anonymous says, “What I was trying to do was offer something to the people we were trying to displace – food or vouchers or gift cards. We should not give more cash.” This was their understanding that 41.18 could be enforced, but “we are trying to use the humanitarian path.”

Tim Ballou, CEO of Film This !, which helps with location and certificate filming productions in Southern California, says the film production team communicates directly with the unoccupied in most locations it allows in downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood. “Afterwards, production washes the area under pressure and cleans up the garbage,” Balo explains in an email. Les handles advocacy “to ask non-hosted community members [to] Voluntarily move away from the place. The LAPD does not hand out quotes or forcefully move anyone who does not want to move. “

FilmLA, the non-profit office that grants approvals and communicates with the municipality, refers requests from productions to contact homeless people in a production area allowed to the LAPD film unit for follow-up by the Homeless Authority in Los Angeles. Spokesman Philip Sokolowski noted that this process “does not come without guarantees”, adding: “A backup location may be needed.”

LAHSA and LAPD numbers THR They do not ask or force people to move on to film productions, and the Sanitation Bureau states in a statement that its job is solely to clear garbage and personal belongings unattended for storage.

More than a decade ago, location manager Kokai Ampa worked on The soloist, Joe Wright’s 2009 film based on the true story of musician Nathaniel Ayers, a former Juilliard student who became homeless and lived in downtown Los Angeles. Built on Anderson Street, across the LA River from Arts District. Ampah, now retired, said the production has worked with organizations serving the uninhabited like LA CAN and The Midnight Mission and brought in extras who were not previously housed or referred by homeless agencies. When The soloist He did shoot overnight on Winston Street on Skid Row, which Ampa claims did not have a permanent encampment, the production distributed booklets three to four days in advance and “no police were involved”. He compared his community method to getting involved with the Homeowners Association in Hancock Park. “You have to do it, wherever you go,” he says. (As for handing out gift cards, food vouchers or cash, he says, “It was not something we really did at this point.”)

According to Balo, these approaches may be vague even for major creatives working on production: “If the location manager did their job, the producer, AD, director would never know there was a problem in the first place,” he writes. The International Position Guild has declined to comment.

Street Watch member Theo Henderson, who hosts the podcast We are the uninhabited And who photographed the March 17 certificate that the activists attribute to him Good trouble, Believes that people who are not resident should be offered jobs by productions that use the streets and sidewalks where they live. He adds, “Because of the layers they are [film production] “Yes, it allows them a reasonable denial of what is happening.” (UCLA’s Luskin Institute for Inequality and Democracy released a report on March 23 detailing a planned “cleanup” operation at the Eco Park encampment in the lake in January 2020 that authorities claim was triggered by a photo permit; in response, the agitated entertainment company wrote to civilians. The uninhabited residents “will in no way affect our photo activities” and “should not have had them move, nor are we asking any of the city authorities to remove them.”

On March 23, Good trouble A scene from an ongoing homelessness arc was broadcast. Journalist interviews Luca, an uninhabited man portrayed by Bobo Stewart (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse), On the Kafkaesque paperwork challenges it faces in securing employment. While Luca explains his plight, revealing his hopes (“I would like to get in the house, you know?”) And dreams (“I actually really want to be a dancer”), the two walk along Highway 110. Soon they reach the sidewalk encampment Luca calls Home, and finds that city employees have begun evacuating him. He panicked. “Please,” Luca tells the cop, “you’re throwing my life away.”

Good trouble Got into trouble with some of those she wanted to support – despite good intentions. Horowath notes, “As the homelessness grows, it will continue to be something that movie sets have to deal with. So my hope is that it will start a conversation.”

A version of this story first appeared in the April 13 issue of the Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to sign up.

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