Last year Fox’s “Empire” filmed scenes at Cook County juvenile detention center, which it featured hollywood big shots such as Chris Rock and Terrence Howard.
Relatives of two juveniles has sued Twentieth Century Fox Television Inc., Cook County and others over the lockdown they say occurred when the large film crews descended on the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at Roosevelt and Ogden in the summer of 2015.
The parent and grandparent of two teenagers housed at the detention center last year are pursuing the lawsuit. The complaint identifies them only by their initials. It claims a 250-person film crew took over the detention center, suspended parking for as many as seven blocks, occupied classrooms and essentially turned a chapel into a mess hall.
“The library, which was normally used by children at the JTDC to read, study, and check out books, was made into crew support area,” the lawyers wrote. So was the JTDC’s visiting area, where the children normally meet with their families.”
“The purpose of these lockdowns was to provide Fox with a realistic prison facility to use as the primary set of two highly profitable ‘Empire’ episodes,” their lawyers wrote in a 37-page federal complaint filed Wednesday. “The children at JTDC, meanwhile, were placed under restrictions more severe than those governing many adult jails.”
Meanwhile, the juveniles housed at the facility were relegated to their cell and were required to sit in one place, according to the complaint. For one teen, “even to stand up without first obtaining permission was treated as a major rule violation.”
“There they were told to sit, for days on end,” lawyers wrote. “Their schooling continued in name only, visits from their families were interrupted, cut back, or effectively eliminated, sick-call requests were ignored, and programs that are intended to help them overcome the problems that landed them at the JTDC in the first place were cancelled or interrupted.”
The 2015 filming occurred June 21-26, July 13-16 and Aug. 23-26, according to the lawsuit. One reason for the multiple visits, it claims, is that Fox executives demanded scenes be re-filmed after Rock’s character “had originally been depicted as a cannibal.”
“The JTDC was placed on lockdown at least in part to accommodate these demands,” the lawsuit states.
Source: Chicago Tribune.com