EXCLUSIVE: Chinatown business owners say film crews have been bullying them

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Chinatown is one of New York's iconic neighborhoods, bursting with history and character - it is why so many movie crews take over the streets and film in the neighborhood

Business owners say lately the film crews have gotten out of control, and they are livid.

"Pissed off ok. I give them the finger. The finger ok. Sometimes it gets nasty," says restaurant owner Donald Moi.

Video taken by a business owner last week captures a confrontation with a production assistant blocking pedestrians from walking down Mott Street.

"We're not blocking people sir. We're just diverting people," says the production assistant.

Business owners say that's just the beginning.

Rose Wu owns a restaurant on the corner of Bayard and Mott Street, where she says customers are sometimes barred from coming and going. Oftentimes crews are standing inside her restaurant for two to three hours blocking people.

Just a few doors down it's the same story.

Restaurant owner Kevin Zheng says, "they're dismissive, we're invisible to them."

Business owners say for months this has been going on, several days a week. The film crews change, but the problem remains.

Then, to add insult to injury last Thursday every restaurant on Mott Street , dozens of them, were slapped with $300 fines for leaving garbage on the sidewalk. Because commercial garbage trucks that pick up, couldn't get down the street, which were shut down by film crews. Restaurant owner Frank Chu was forced to move 3 days of trash back inside.

"Everyday I put it in the basement," he says.

A spokesperson from The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment says "Film permits do not allow crews to shut down streets or prevent people from moving about except briefly during takes... we will look into this particular complaint further."

Community leader Don Lee tells Eyewitness News, "We're not against filming. Let me make that be clear. We want accountable and responsible approach to filming."
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