Hollywood is having a big problem when it comes to performers' safety. This past year has seen a considerable rise of on-set accidents that have either resulted in serious injuries and even death in some cases. There's now one more example to add to that list, because K.J. Apa — known for playing Archie in The CW's Riverdale — was involved in a car crash following an arduous day of filming.
Fortunately, Apa is safe, but the conditions that led to his accident may be part of a wider problem.
Apa left the Riverdale set on his own after a grueling 16-hour work day, and went on his daily 45-minute trip home, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor then reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed. Details on what exactly happened during the accident are vague, but it's reported that the vehicle's passenger side was completely crushed by a pole, and the car was rendered inoperable.
The actor was taken to a local hospital and he was let go shortly after with minor injuries. #ColeSprouse (a.k.a. Jughead) was reportedly planning to accompany Apa during his trip, but ultimately decided against it and stayed on set.
Surprisingly, shortly after news of the incident broke, a Warner Bros. spokesperson released a statement through THR. In it, the company claims that Apa had actually worked less hours than previously reported and he was actually given the option of being taken to his home or having a hotel room booked for him:
"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."
While we don't know all the details behind the accident and should therefore not draw any conclusions, this response does feel like a quick way to get out of any legal troubles that could come from a situation like this one. Regardless, the accident may serve to highlight a problem with the work conditions on Riverdale.
The 'Riverdale' Cast And Crew Are Furious Over This Incident
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this accident started a heavy protest from both the cast and crew regarding their working conditions. While Warner Bros. denied it, the show reportedly has long work hours, sometimes going from one day to another nonstop, which is just too extreme for some performers. As a source told THR:
"They're working these kids from morning until night. Someone's going to die."
Essentially, the car crash was considered to be a direct result of the demanding working environment. #WarnerBros.'s policy states that actors are in charge of their transportation to and from the set, especially when the show is filming outside the United States. With that in mind, the actors are asking for WB to provide transportation for actors working long days, such as #KJApa.
Reportedly, the actors' representatives will have a meeting with Warner Bros. to discuss this on Friday, September 22.
Now, this isn't exactly a one-sided argument. According to other sources close to the production and as Warner Bros. specified in its statement, the actors can call a taxi or stay a hotel near the set paid by the studio if they feel they're too tired to make the drive back home.
Why Apa decided against doing that is a mystery right now, but his accident has already caused quite a stir around the entertainment industry. Shortly after the incident, the Screen Actors Guild revealed they are sending a team to the Riverdale set in Vancouver to take care of the issue and prevent other people from the cast and crew from suffering a similar situation: "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."
As it turns out, Apa hasn't been the only case of a performer or crew member falling asleep behind the wheel. There have been two separate cases in 1997 and 2015 that both resulted in the death of the person in the car. What will happen with The CW and Warner Bros. is a mystery right now, but we'll keep you updated. In the meantime, it's great to know that Apa is doing well and his injuries weren't anything to be concerned about.
Riverdale returns for a second season on October 11, 2017.
How do you feel about this situation involving Riverdale and the safety on set? Let me know in the comments.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]