Universal Studios might have invoked the wrath of California's Tree Law
Who are they? A row of ficus trees that were trimmed earlier this week for unclear reasons.
What's the big deal? As the week has gone on, one thing has become clear: whoever trimmed those trees was not given the authority to do so by the city of Los Angeles.
Our Office is investigating the tree trimming that occurred outside Universal Studios where workers, writers, and actors are exercising their right to picket.— LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia (@lacontroller) July 19, 2023
The trimmed trees are LA City managed street trees.
(Before and after photos below) pic.twitter.com/xczw0bTdh9
What are people saying?
Here's a statement Universal gave to Deadline:
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.
A video about how this pruning may impact the Ficus trees from arborist and TikToker Lucas the Lorax:
@lucasthelorax #stitch with @Pat Loller #arborist #hollywood #losangeles #sagaftra #writersstrike #greenscreen #tree ♬ original sound - Lucas The Lorax
And part of the SAG-AFTRA charge, obtained by Motherboard:
[Universal was] interfering with lawful picketing activity, by designating as picketing locations areas where the public sidewalks have been covered up with construction fencing, forcing picketers to patrol in busy streets with significant car traffic where two picketers have already been struck by a car, and by refusing to provide K-rail barriers to establish pedestrian walkways for picketers to use, after Los Angeles Police Department advised the employer weeks ago in the interest of public safety to do so.
So, what now?
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