'Midnight Rider' Target of Campaign Urging Crews to Boycott L.A. Production
In the wake of this week's message from IATSE that Midnight Rider plans to resume production in Los Angeles in June, a new Facebook campaign was launched on Thursday urging crews to boycott working on the film.
The group, called I REFUSE to work on Midnight Rider! For Sarah!!!, currently has 661 members, many of whom have IATSE's symbol as their profile picture or have posted photos of film slates in honor of Sarah Jones, the 27-year-old camera assistant who was struck and killed by a train in February while shooting on the tracks in Georgia.
"This group is for people who REFUSE to work on the show that was responsible for the death of Sarah Jones. Midnight Rider is coming to LA to shoot. Let's continue to stand up for Sarah, REFUSE to work on this show," explained the group's creators on the page. "Lets shut it down!"
Filming on the Gregg Allman biopic was suspended days after the fatal accident on Feb. 20.
However, on Tuesday a producer from Unclaimed Freight Productions informed the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees of plans to resume the project, with preproduction beginning in a couple of weeks.
"We have expressed our obvious concerns regarding this production starting again," said IATSE international vp and department director, motion picture & TV production, Michael F. Miller Jr. in a message to members. While warning that there will be significant union presence on the film, Miller emphasized that the production may have difficulty hiring following the outcry after the accident.
"As uncomfortable as this is, we cannot prevent them from starting up again. Whether or not they can get people to work for them is a decision that those people will have to make for themselves. I will keep you apprised as we become aware of additional information," he wrote.
Messages of disgust over the production have been posted on the new Facebook page, including one that read "Anyone from the west coast or anywhere else who helps finish Midnight Rider should be ashamed of themselves!!
"It is disgusting that this production is going to continue. There hasn't been a day that goes by that I haven't thought about the reality that this horrible event has brought to light and still people do stupid things daily."
Others have written messages of support for Sarah and voiced their opinion that "sometimes a paycheck or a resume builder isn't worth it."
This is the latest in a series of online social media campaigns in memory of Atlanta-based Jones and pledging for improved workplace safety on sets during production.
The Wayne County, Ga., sheriff's office investigating Jones' death says it will discuss its findings with the district attorney next week. After that meeting, the two sides will decide whether any charges should be filed regarding the incident, which has led to calls from various parts of the entertainment industry for better on-set safety conditions.