‘Queer Eye’ production in New Orleans was cut short after carjacking of crew member
Author: Trudy Ring
The cast and crew of Queer Eye had a hard time filming in the city known as the Big Easy.
Season 8 of the show, to premiere on Netflix on January 24, has the Fab Five in New Orleans, and they promise it will be a great season. But filming, which took place in the summer of 2022, had some harrowing moments, including two attempted vehicle thefts followed by a successful one, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On July 2, 2022, “five men in ski masks attempted to steal a Queer Eye vehicle outside of a field production office while two crewmembers were unloading it,” the Reporter notes. The would-be thieves were thwarted, and producers increased security around the shoot, hiring armed guards to supplement the unarmed ones usually on duty.
Then on July 7, two men tried to steal another vehicle, described as “a fully decked out GMC truck,” but didn’t get away with it because the staffers inside locked the doors. But then the men went to another vehicle nearby, pulled a production assistant out of it, and drove away. Police eventually recovered the vehicle and arrested the suspects.
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There was an emergency meeting of the cast and crew, and all were offered counseling. Some members of the Fab Five questioned the decision to film in New Orleans, which was in the midst of a crime wave, and style expert Tan France threatened to leave the shoot if additional security wasn’t provided for both hosts and crew, a source told the Reporter. The rest of the hosts backed him up. Netflix and production company ITV America took action, hiring off-duty police officers, providing escorts, and more.
“Following the attempted carjacking and carjacking during Queer Eye filming in New Orleans, production took immediate and extensive action to secure the safety of all personnel,” a spokesperson for ITV America told the publication. “Measures were taken not only to provide ample security, but also so everyone would feel comfortable continuing to film in the city. Due to the collective steps taken, Queer Eye was able to resume filming safely and without further incident.”
“Our concerns were taken very seriously. It was a really thoughtful response,” one source said; all spoke on condition of anonymity. Another noted, “The Fab Five was very much about making sure that their colleagues felt safe.”
The costs of increased security, however, led to a reduction in the episode count from seven to six and cut the production schedule by a week.
New Orleans had “an unprecedented increase in crime in 2022,” Carroll Morton, director of Film New Orleans, told the Reporter, adding that she and her colleagues were “devastated” by what happened on the Queer Eye shoot. The situation has improved since, she said.
“I love New Orleans, always have, and I never experienced any crime up until the season of Queer Eye,” one staffer for the show said. “I believe we were targeted because people saw us in these big fancy cars and knew we were filming. That amped up the danger that’s already there. New Orleans is a very poor city, and people are desperate. It’s such a beautiful, fun city, and there’s so much to look out for and enjoy, but after my experience, I don’t think I will ever go back again. It’s too risky.” Season 7 had been filmed there as well.
Queer Eye has been renewed for a ninth season, and that will take place in Las Vegas. France, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, and Karamo Brown will be back for that season, but interior design guru Bobby Berk is leaving the program.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring