2ND UPDATE, 8:45 PM: The tributes to Sarah Jones continue to pour in. Below is a photo posted at WhoSay featuring Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev of CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the CW drama on which Jones worked. And action continues at the Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which now is past 21,500 likes. Other below-the-line workers are getting in on the act as well; among the more recent pics posted to the site are tributes to the late camera assistant adorning a walkie-talkie and a large power tool.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which is gathering tribute photos for fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones from production crews around the world, has now passed 18K “likes.” The online petition to include Jones in Sunday’s Oscar In Memoriam segment eclipsed its goal of 10,000 signatures within 12 hours Tuesday and now is approaching 13K. It will be submitted to the Academy on Friday.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: A campaign to include Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones in this weekend’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute is gaining traction online, but time will tell if the Academy will acknowledge the increasingly vocal outcry within the production community to her tragic death. Jones, 27, died Thursday in a train collision on the set of director Randall Miller‘s Gregg Allman biopic that left several others injured in Jesup, GA. Her death has raised growing concerns within the industry about set safety and culpability as investigations into the accident continue.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident
A call for Jones to be included in Sunday’s Oscars show was posted online yesterday encouraging supporters to lobby the Academy with phone calls and emails requesting Jones’ inclusion in the annual In Memoriam tribute. In Memoriam honors are selected by a special AMPAS committee and typically reserved for longtime industry notables. With just days to go until the telecast, that possibility seems even more unlikely as Jones’ death occurred after the Academy’s February 1 cut-off date. Even if the Oscars omit Jones from their telecast, the effort is serving as a lightning rod calling attention to industry-wide on-set safety concerns coming to light in the wake of Thursday’s accident. Video assist technician Chris Murphy created the Sarah Jones Oscar campaign Monday and posted it to Facebook where it’s shared hundreds of times. He didn’t know Jones personally, “but Sarah could have been any one of us,” he told Deadline. “We’ve all been in that situation before in our thirst to accomplish our jobs and help directors get their visions accomplished.”
The campaign is also backed by Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which has garnered over 11K “likes” to date and has been adding a steady stream of photos featuring memorial tributes to Jones on the clapboard slates sent in by film and TV crews all over the world. So far the Slates for Sarah tributes include photos from the sets of Drop Dead Diva, Hit the Floor, The Middle, The Goldbergs, Devious Maids, Halt and Catch Fire, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest, Justified, Revenge, Arrow, About a Boy, Salem, Bones, Granite Flats, togetherness, The Time of Our Lives, Wayward Pines, Hello Ross, Veiled Threats, Graceland, and films Lila And Eve, Cell, Visions, and Boychoir.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Train Death Investigation Ongoing; IATSE Local 600 Issues Statement
Meanwhile, an online petition to add Jones to the Oscars In Memoriam has garnered nearly 2K signatures in less than six hours after being posted this morning. And a black-striped version of the International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 600 logo is popping up on social media avatars.
“When you’re working on a job, we are the worker bees. We are the ones that move the equipment around and capture the director’s vision,” said Murphy. “We put our faith in the production team to make sure permits are applied for and received, locations are approved, and safety protocols are being followed. I’m sure that Harold Ramis, whose death recently happened, will be part of that In Memoriam. He’s a big figure in Hollywood and in the business, absolutely. But Sarah represents any one of us in that situation. No matter the department, it’s about all of us.”