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.
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.
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.