Medieval Times Union Says Company Brought Scab Knights From Canada Story-level
A pair of Medieval Times knights from the company’s Toronto Castle were heading to Southern California earlier this week when their inter-realm journey apparently hit a snag.
The two gentlemen and a third Medieval Times worker were turned away by the Department of Homeland Security because they lacked visas to work in the United States, according to a Toronto castle employee who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.
The Canadians were apparently headed to the dinner and theater chain’s castle in Buena Park, California, where workers have been on strike since February 11. With many of the castle’s regular performers on the picket line, the work stoppage forced the company to bring in knights and cast members from other locations to keep their show schedule up to date.
The union representing the Buena Park workers, the American Variety Artists Union, accused the company of violating immigration law in an effort to undermine the strike. The union said in a statement that it had received “confirmation” about the incident involving the Canadians, but declined to provide further details.
“Medieval Times have been bringing in scab performers from their other castles to keep up the show,” the union said. “They have attempted to illegally import ‘knights’ from their castle in Toronto, Canada.”
Medieval Times, which has nine castles in the US and one in Canada, did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokesman for US Customs and Border Protection, which is part of DHS, said the agency would not discuss a particular case for privacy reasons. “If a traveler applies to work in the US, they will need to obtain the proper visa,” the spokesperson said in an email.
According to the Toronto castle clerk, the Canadians heading to Buena Park had brought some of their equipment to the US and told DHS officers they were in the country for training.
Medieval Times workers in Buena Park unionized last November, following their colleagues at Castle Lyndhurst, New Jersey, who unionized five months earlier. Medieval Times tried to discourage both groups from organizing and initially hired an anti-union consultant at a cost of $3,200 per day to combat the campaign in New Jersey.
The workers of the two castles are now negotiating their first contracts, which can be a notoriously difficult process. Buena Park employees walked off the job last month accusing the Medieval Times of dealing in bad faith and trying to silence them on social media.
The company previously sued the union alleging trademark infringement for the name the workers had adopted, Medieval Times Performers United, and its medieval-themed logo. More recently, the company appears to have banned the Buena Park union’s TikTok account following an intellectual property complaint, prompting the February strike.
The strike includes knights, knaves, queens, and other members of the show’s cast. The union said more than half of the workers in the bargaining unit chose to go on strike, though others chose to cross the picket line and continue working, particularly those who work in the stables.
Knights who are trained to perform dangerous jousting and combat stunts and who are available to replace striking workers are not exactly plentiful. these days. As HuffPost reported last month, Medieval Times struggled to keep its show running in the immediate aftermath of the strike, substituting a horse trainer for one of the show’s knights.
The trainer left the arena before the combat part of the program began.