Below is a statement from Paul Bales, Chief Operating Officer of The Asylum and one of the producers of the SHARKNADO films:
Before I started with The Asylum, I worked at Screen Actors Guild for almost ten years; first as a contracts representative, and then as Director of SAGIndie. In fact, I was instrumental in unionizing the SAG business reps and still consider myself a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Five years prior to that I was West Coast Representative for the American Guild of Variety Artists. The Asylum, at my insistence, has voluntarily signed agreements with all of the entertainment unions and guilds when the budgets allowed. And while other studios have moved to Canada or elsewhere, we have chosen to keep our production business in the United States. So, to accuse me, my partners, or my company of somehow being anti-union is insulting and untrue.
It is true that SHARKNADO 2 was made under an IATSE contract. However, dealing with the New York City locals was the worst experience we’ve had in making over 200 movies. After all of the manipulation and bullying, inefficiency, overcharging, lying, and featherbedding, we had absolutely no desire to repeat this experience on SHARKNADO 3.
The IATSE’s actions on this film have confirmed that we made the right decision.
Unmotivated by the crew themselves, the IATSE pulled the union members working on the film and coerced most of the non-union crew not to cross the picket line by claiming that they would never be able to join the union in the future. The replacement crew and the crew who have continued to work have been subject to everything from cyberbullying, threats, objects being thrown at them, verbal and physical intimidation, staged pedestrian accidents, and mysteriously flattened tires. Most disturbingly, the majority of the vitriol has been directed at the women on our crew, including the posting of their photographs, phone numbers, and license plate numbers to invite their harassment.
Furthermore, of the 30-40 picketers who paraded around our sets in Los Angeles and Washington and our production offices, only about three or four of them had any prior involvement in this project.
The crew was replaced within a day and production has continued unabated. The delivery and release of the film is not, and has never been, in jeopardy.
The only thing the IATSE’s 1920s shakedown tactics have achieved is the unemployment of our original crew, erroneous stories planted in the press, and the persecution of a young and dedicated crew who want nothing more than to be a part of the cinematic history that is the SHARKNADO phenomenon.