Looks like tempers are getting a bit frazzled in LA with working employees crossing picket lines daily. News Corp as well as striking writers have confirmed to LA Weekly’s Nikki Finke that an impatient Fox employee driving a black SUV got into a physical fracas with picketing Rene Balcer, showrunner of Law & Order and co-creator of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. The altercation occurred while Balcer was legally walking the line in the crosswalk of Fox Studios’ Gate 3 off Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
The driver’s behavior had escalated all week, witnesses said. First, the Fox white collar worker spent Monday yelling at the striking writers. Then he used his car to nudge a picketer Tuesday. That’s when a strike captain wrote a “Safety Note of the Day: Watch Out For D*****bags” about “some a**hole roared up to our picketers and was so angry at having to wait two seconds for them to cross the street that he tapped one of our guys with his fender (lightly; no injury). We got his license plate and took a picture of him. Fortunately, our picketers were following all the Safe Picketing Rules.”
And finally the driver drove into Balcer, began pushing him with his fender, and then got into a shoving match with the celebrated writer. Here’s one witness account, according to Finke’s story: "It’s Mr. SUV’s turn to wait for us to cross. He does not wait. He plows into us, knocking Rene Balcer back several feet. Then the guy leaps out of his car and takes a swing at Rene, and then shoves him out onto Avenue of the Stars. Thankfully, there was no traffic at that moment…As soon as the driver got out of his car and headed towards Balcer, WGA strike captains on the scene called to the Fox security guard to help. But striking writers claim the guard did not respond. That’s when, witnesses say, the driver ‘got in Balcer’s face’ and things got physical. Picketers attempted to grab and restrain the driver. But he shook them off and scrambled back into his car which was waved through the gate by the Fox guard.”
After the incident, Balcer called the police.