Michael Bay was assaulted on the Hong Kong set of Paramount’s Transformers: Age of Extinction today, in what appears to be some sort of petty blackmail scheme. According to Reuters, two brothers walked up to the director and demanded a payment of HK$100,000 – about $13,000. (BBC News theorizes that the men were asking for disturbance fees, which are paid to business owners who could lose business when a movie films in their area.)
UPDATE: EW has confirmed the assault with Paramount, which released a statement that counters some of the assertions in the Reuters piece and also specifies the curious fact that one of the assailants apparently attacked Michael Bay with an air conditioning unit. Read Paramount’s statement below:
Contrary to several erroneous news reports made today, Bay did not get hurt in a fight on set. The production company did have a bizarre encounter with a man (allegedly under the influence of a narcotic substance) who was wielding an air conditioning unit as a weapon. The man, who had earlier accosted several other crew members, rushed onto the set in Quarry Bay and swung the air conditioning unit directly at Bay’s head. The director ducked and wrested the air conditioner from his attacker, preventing what could have been a serious accident. The company’s security team quickly stepped in and subdued the assault. The police, who also scuffled with the assailant and two of his companions, ultimately arrested the three men. No one on the cast or crew was injured and the production immediately resumed filming without further incident.