I was called into a meeting yesterday at 3pm with Ibrahim and Majid. At this point, no-one had been paid. Everyone was very angry and upset. And deeply suspicious of ATP.
I expected the meeting to last between one and two hours and for them to try to persuade me to persuade Construction and Props and the Art Dept Office (which is really just me and Kristine) to come in today. The meeting lasted five hours and forty-five minutes.
It turned out that trying to persuade people to work was the basis of the first 30 minutes of the meeting. But after that it turned into something quite surreal. ATP had “a contract”. And they wanted me to ‘proof it’ then persuade the Art Dept crew to sign it.
I smelt a very big rat.
Forgetting for the moment that it is unethical and indeed, illegal, to insist people sign a contract without exercising their right to legal council (so there was no way I would be asking the crew to do that), I decided to indulge ATP by reading the contract while I asked myself what they were up to.
Ibrahim told me the contract was necessary to get the Studio to give ATP more money. He said that without the signed contract, the Studio would not release more funds. He was very clear about this. But the whole time, I could tell he was lying and I wondered why (you can check what he said for yourself on the attached audio recording of the meeting).
I helped them to edit it. I noticed stuff was missing which I ask them to add. Somehow, though I noticed that there was no resignation clause, I forgot to insist they add it, but I had the foresight to say I’d proof it again today and this time I remembered. It was very clear that the contract was extremely one-sided. It was designed purely to serve the interests of ATP. It looked to me like ATP was trying to lock the crew into a contract with them so that we could not side with the Studio.
After the meeting, I bumped into a very stressed looking Kristine and Ray. I told them about the contract. Kristine brought the resignation clause up. I decided it was advantageous to have not insisted on it in the first meeting because I could use it to stall in any second meeting. And because no-one would sign unless they added it.
But the real issue was why did they want it signed in the first place?
I wasn’t back in my room long, before my phone started ringing. It was 10:33pm! So I ignored it. I was tired and had gone to bed. Then my hotel phone rang. I ignored that too.
What I did not know until today was that my five hours and forty-five minute meeting with Ibrahim and Majid yesterday was followed by text messages and phone calls to the local crew threatening them if they met us that evening or sided with us – most of those messages being sent by Hamad who was obviously a puppet for Ibrahim.
Indeed, one such threatening phone call happened at 10:30pm to Prince. Hamad asked him if he was with us. Prince said no. Hamad told him that if he was, he better leave now.
Three minutes later, I got that call from Majid which I did not answer as I was going to sleep…
Note: Audio Recording to be added later.