Threatening letter keeps IATSE offices in Burbank closed and cancels weekend event

An IATSE flag flies in solidarity with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA picket line outside Netflix headquarters in July.
An IATSE flag flies in solidarity with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA picket line outside Netflix headquarters in July. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times)

The Burbank offices of the film-crew union International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 80 remained closed Saturday and at least one weekend event there was canceled after the group received a threatening letter.

Burbank police detectives are investigating the threat, Sgt. Stephen Turner told The Times. No arrest has been made, and no additional information about the letter is being released at this time, he said.

The letter, which the industry website Puck characterized as a "death threat," closed the IATSE office Friday. DeJon Ellis Jr., IATSE’s business manager, told Variety that the letter, allegedly written by a grip struggling with unemployment, was postmarked Wednesday and primarily addressed to Local 80, which represents grips and below-line workers.

IATSE is not on strike, but many of its members are unable to work because of productions shut down by strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA.

Read more: The studios went public with their WGA offer. Was it a mistake?

Repsentatives for IATSE did not immediately return requests for comment Saturday. In addition to Local 80, the national union temporarily closed its West Coast headquarters, also in Burbank. Justine Bateman tweeted (and then deleted) a post that said a weekend panel discussion scheduled at Local 80 had been canceled.

The economic impact of the writers’ and actors’ strikes, while broadly supported by industry workers, has been felt not only collectively in the L.A. economy but also individually by tens of thousands of actors, writers and film crews who are unable to work. The Entertainment Community Fund, which supports out-of-work film and TV professionals, has distributed more than $4.7 million since May 2.

Read more: ‘We can’t pay our rent.’ Actors on the picket line reveal harsh reality of trying to make it in Hollywood

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.