Feds Charge Five Teamsters With Extorting ‘Top Chef’ And Verbaly Assaulting Padma Lakshmi ‘Details’

Updated: October 1, 2015
Feds Charge Five Teamsters With Extorting "Top Chef" And Verbally Assaulting Padma Lakshmi

A group of Teamsters have been charged with extortion for allegedly hurling racist, homophobic and sexist abuse at Top Chef’s TV crew, including host Padma Lakshmi.

Beginning in the spring of 2014, the company began scouting locations to film “Top Chef.” The company hired its own employees, including drivers, to work on the filming of the show.

The indictment alleges that Daniel Redmond, a Teamsters member, approached the crew in Boston and demanded that members of Local 25 be hired as drivers. The secretary-treasurer of Local 25, Mark Harrington, demanded to know where else the crew would be filming and threatened to shut down the production, according to the indictment.

Redmond, Harrington and Teamsters members John Fidler and Robert Cafarelli are accused of going to a Milton restaurant, where the show was filming on June 10, 2014, and threatening the crew.

The restaurant was not named in the indictment, but the Patriot Ledger reported that the incident happened at Steel & Rye on Eliot Street.

Picketers allegedly yelled expletives at crew members and “Top Chef” host Padma Lakshmi.

A few of the defendants entered the production area and “began walking in lockstep toward the doors of the restaurant, where they chest-bumped and stomach-bumped crew members in an attempt to forcibly enter the restaurant,” the indictment alleges.

Redmond, Harrington, Fidler and Cafarelli were charged with conspiracy to extort and attempted extortion.

“Top Chef” was filming for the show’s 12th season, which premiered last October on Bravo.

In addition to Steel & Rye, episodes were shot at Plimoth Plantation, Fenway Park, the Bull and Finch pub and at Boston police and fire stations.