A row of previously bushy Ficus trees on Barham Boulevard that were inexplicably pruned over the hot weekend has only heightened the frustration of WGA strikers at Universal — especially since construction on the Lankershim Boulevard side has made it challenging to walk the picket line.
On Monday, strikers who chose to walk the line outside of Gate 8 were surprised to see how the parkland trees next to the gate, which previously offered a shady respite to protesters, were completely cut back. Pine trees on the opposite side of Barham weren’t touched, as were a row of pepper trees behind the fence near the production gate.
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“It’s just been very frustrating, trying to get people to come out here and picket these gates,” admits on-site picketer Deric A. Hughes, a co-executive producer on Quantum Leap who is also on the WGA Board of Directors. “It’s just very suspect. If this was done by the city, why didn’t they trim the trees on that side? [He points across Barham].”
After contacted by Deadline, a Universal spokesperson released this statement: “We understand that the safety tree trimming of the Ficus trees we did on Barham Blvd. has created unintended challenges for demonstrators, that was not our intention. In partnership with licensed arborists, we have pruned these trees annually at this time of year to ensure that the canopies are light ahead of the high wind season. We support the WGA and SAG’s right to demonstrate, and are working to provide some shade coverage. We continue to openly communicate with the labor leaders on-site to work together during this time.”
More to come…
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