HELLO AMERICA!—After gestures of promises and loyalty, the owner and primary manager of China Film Company shocks the motion picture industry by their coolie treatment of one of Hollywood’s most promising young filmmakers. The treatment of Walt Plaster was unacceptable by any stretch of the imagination. Since the Film Industry of China is attempting to make inroads into the co-production aspect as well as the “marketing” process of our industry, it is amazing they would attempt to introduce the Chinese way of dealing with employees working under their seat of power.
Plaster admitted that he was extremely excited having the experience working with a foreign company such as the Chinese, it would be a learning experience on both sides. However, many of us involved in the writing or producing of films have been warned that the Chinese should not be trusted with contracts, distribution and of course when it comes to money! Upon being warned, I like so many other people believed that was possibly an exaggeration but Plaster convinced me the stories were very much on target.
“During my meeting with the primary manager of the company, ‘Walt offered,’ I made it very clear that I needed a safe, healthy desk and chair with which to work, mainly because I was also an active member of a physical sport which demanded that I take care of myself physically. And there was no problem with this, as a matter of fact, they admired my interests in health and physical stability.”
However, Plaster declared that several weeks later, the attitude and atmosphere changed completely.
“The company ultimately discriminated against my health and wellness. Further, they denied me a basic working environment of a desk and seat. It was unbelievable! Especially, when they were well aware of what was discussed and agreed upon previous to my being hired. They were determined to disregard my simple need in having a decent seat in order to maintain good posture throughout the day.”
It was explained further that as soon as a dialogue opened concerning health issues, the primary manager expected Plaster to work in an environment that directly threatened his daily health. Intimidation was even introduced attempting to communicate with him in a very condescending voice, speaking down to him. “It was an emotionally trying experience,” Plaster said, “It was clear they wanted me gone; without compromise.”
Hearing this was deeply disturbing but when we followed up discussing this treatment issue with other young filmmakers, their stories were very similar to that of Plaster. Working with Chinese film people meant that one should forget being who they are as Americans. We have come a long way to maintain respect between “worker and employer” and in no way will we demean ourselves or accept an isolating environment or historical way of life which still runs deep with this particular company. The Chinese hierarchy has arrived in Hollywood and again, we as Americans are faced with a challenge of allowing them to understand who we are as a people and the reason we are the most powerful nation in the world. Again! It is up to us the people to speak, shout it loud and clear.