Cosmopolitan hit with paltry $250 fine for cutting down trees that surprise writers and actors used to shade

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July 22, 2023 | 11:07 p.m

Universal Pictures has been fined $250 for cutting down trees that provided shade to striking WGA workers in the Southern California heat, according to city officials.

Los Angeles City Comptroller Kenneth Mejia revealed on Wednesday that the city had not granted the necessary permits to trim the Ficus trees outside Universal’s Gate 8. On Friday, he confirmed that the studios had issued a $250 citation — the most the city could ask for in this situation.

StreetsLA fines all first-time offenders—regardless of the number of trees involved—a $250 fine. If violations continue, fines can rise to $1,000. Posted in a long thread on Twitter. “If significantly damaged trees are found, StreetsLA can require offenders to plant two trees for every damaged tree.”

The trees had provided shade for the workers as they remained deadlocked in negotiations with the studio.
Writers Syndicate Foundation / Twitter

“In this case, StreetsLA has determined that the trees were not significantly damaged and will likely recover within 6-12 months,” Mejia continued. “Through our investigation, we have learned that StreetsLA cannot proactively protect the more than 700,000 trees in the city and investigate violations. The city has only 12 inspectors.”

WGA and SAG-AFTRA workers were outraged when they returned to the picket line to find trees had been snapped during their ongoing strike. A post of the bare trees quickly spread across the Internet.

Trees snapped during workers strike in 90 degree heat in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles City Comptroller Kenneth Mejia/Twitter
Universal Pictures was fined $250, which city officials said was all they could do.
Los Angeles City Comptroller Kenneth Mejia/Twitter

A quick shout out to the good people at @employee To cut down the trees that gave our picket line shade directly over 90 degrees a week ago,” comedian Chris Stephens quipped. chirp.

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An NBCUniversal spokesperson acknowledged to The Post in a statement that the pruning “created unintended challenges for protesters,” but added, “It was not our intention.”

“In partnership with licensed tree owners, we prune these trees annually at this time of year to ensure the canopies are light ahead of the high winds season,” said the studio.

Universal Pictures did not respond to a request for comment.

The WGA band strike has been going on since May 2. They were joined by SAG-AFTRA Actors Guild on July 14.




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