Warner Bros. Responds to Set Safety Issues After Riverdale Star Car Crash

Image: The CW
Image: The CW

Riverdale’s K.J. Apa was involved in a car accident last week after working a 16-hour day filming the show’s second season. Although thankfully the actor escaped with minor injuries, the accident has raised new concerns about about on-set safety at the end of a summer that’s led to some tragic accidents in the film and TV industries.

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In the wake of Apa’s crash, apparently caused by the actor falling asleep at the wheel after the day’s filming, members of the close-knit Riverdale cast protested to producers against Warner Bros.’ policy of not providing transport to-and-from set after exhaustive filming days. The SAG-AFTRA union has launched an investigation into the incident:

This is an extremely troubling situation and we are deeply concerned about the safety of performers on the Riverdale set. We are sending a team to Vancouver to review the circumstances surrounding safety issues affecting performers on this production. We have no further comment at this time.

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But despite SAG-AFTRA’s investigation and anger from the cast, Warner Bros. has issued a statement refuting allegations of safety issues caused by the studio’s transport policy, as well as earlier details about the length of Apa’s schedule on the day of the accident while defending their policies as being compliant with current union regulations:

First and foremost, we are extremely grateful that KJ Apa was uninjured during his recent accident. Secondarily, we want to specifically address the characterization that conditions on the set of Riverdale are of concern. We have a large cast of series regulars, and our actors do not work every day. On the day of the accident, KJ worked 14.2 hours. The previous day he worked 2.5 hours, and the day before that he worked 7.7 hours. KJ has repeatedly been informed about making production aware if he is tired or feels unsafe, and if so, either a ride or hotel room will be provided for him. The accident occurred last Thursday. Additionally, it is untrue that KJ was taken to the hospital. He was treated by first responders on the scene and released by them. We also sent a doctor to his home later that same day for a follow-up to confirm his well-being.

The safety of the cast and crew on all of our productions is of paramount importance to the Studio. Productions adhere to the Screen Actors Guild–mandated turnaround time of 12 hours from wrap time to next day call time for cast members. In accordance with industry standard policy, if any cast or crew member feels tired or unsafe at any time after working, the Studio will provide a taxi, a driver or a hotel room upon request. This is communicated to all cast and crew, both in writing and verbally, at the beginning of production and is reiterated continuously throughout the duration of production.

This comes after a summer of on-set accidents has rocked several genre productions, including two tragic incidents on the sets of The Walking Dead and Deadpool 2 where stunt workers lost their lives.

[Variety]

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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

This is a serious issue. If they were shooting on location rahter then stage, then the G&E crew needs to wrap all the gear. Production needs to be around because they are management with the PAs at the bottom of the totem pole being the first on set and the last to leave. Also Art department usually have their load out to do which requires that all other teams be done with their work. So the actor did his 16 hour day and everyone else did their 18 - 20 hour day. The Actor gets their 12 hour turn around but the crew likely had to be back on set the next day before the actors without the mandatory turn around. not in every case but in enough cases that over the course of the show it will wear down anyone.

This is exacerbated by the false bravado of working too many hours. There is a facebook group called Movie Set Memes. Just about once a month if not more frequently someone posts the picture of Ray Liotta laughing in Good fellas with a caption something to the effect of I worked my 80 hour week by wednesday and my friends complain about a bit of overtime

This is really not acceptable and is indicative of poor planning and management.

Usually it is a PA who falls asleep at the wheel which garners no press