Below the Line has been covering the ongoing dispute between the Golf Channel with broadcast crew, who have been asking for regular Covid-19 testing to meet up with the protocols seen by other film, television and commercial production since the pandemic began. The latest development is that two crew members who were covering the Mayakoba Classic leg of the PGA Tour in Playa Del Carmen have tested positive.
The extent of the spread remains unknown due to the lack of regular testing and absence of proper reporting and record keeping, as cases continue to grow among these important workers. Some crew members, who are members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), believe that the network is taking an “out of sight, out of mind” approach to worker safety, and the news of the individuals testing positive came just as other members of the Mayakoba crew were heading to the US Women’s Open in Houston and the QBE Shootout in Naples, FL.
IATSE’s Rachel McLendon, who represents the Golf Channel crew said, “We are seeing a pattern. When Golf Channel is required to test its employees because of international travel or USGA requests, we tend to see higher reports of COVID cases. We believe similar numbers could be expected if we saw regularly scheduled testing. Willful ignorance is unacceptable. Acting responsibly when employees are treveling is just the right thing to do.”
Over 10,000 concerned members of the public have already signed a petition demanding regular testing for Golf Channel crew members after public health experts condemned the channel’s COVID protocols as insufficient.
We will continue to continue this developing news as long as Golf Channel refuses to acknowledge the issue or resolve it.