Production has been suspended on the set of HBO’s “The White House Plumbers” following an alleged incident of unprofessional behavior, the network confirmed to IndieWire. As first reported by Deadline, filming on the five-part Watergate series starring Justin Theroux and Woody Harrelson was put on pause in New York state after an incident that took place on Wednesday, August 4.
As Deadline wrote, “According to sources, there was an on-set altercation on Wednesday, Aug. 4, involving series director/executive producer David Mandel and a member of the prop department, which led to the prop department walking off the set in protest. I hear the production halt (with no reason provided) was revealed in a call sheet sent out Thursday night. The document included a note with contacts for anyone to report bullying on set, according to sources who indicated that this week’s incidents may not have been isolated.”
Update: Deadline’s original report stated there may have been two on-set altercations instead of one, which was incorrect. It also stated the prop department “quit in protest,” which did not happen.
Though declining to comment further, HBO provided the following statement to IndieWire: “HBO has received reports of alleged unprofessional behavior on the set of ‘White House Plumbers.’ We take very seriously our responsibility to ensure a respectful work environment on all our productions, and we are investigating the matter fully.”
It’s unclear when production will resume on the series, which is said to be halfway through filming and is reportedly still paused as of this Friday, August 6.
The series tells the true story of how Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Theroux), accidentally toppled the presidency they were trying to protect. The limited series is based partially on public records, as well as Egil “Bud” Krogh and Matthew Krogh’s 2016 book, “Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices, and Life Lessons from the White House.”
“In most of the Watergate movies ever made, basically the burglary is the opening scene,” Mandel, best known for his work on “Veep,” told IndieWire previously. “You see flashes of the burglary, and then it’s people in the Oval Office, [President Richard] Nixon, and the reporters at the Washington Post. This is a limited series where it is 100 percent about the burglary. We’re going to meet these guys before the burglary, and we’re going to see the effects of the burglary on their lives. This is the story that none of these other [stories] bothered with, to some extent.”