OSCARS UPDATE: Production Community Rallying To Add 'Midnight Rider' Crew Member To In Memoriam Tribute

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.

sarah jones campaign blacked

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.

sarah jones hit the floor

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.

ICG IATSE Local 600 Sarah Jones“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.”

  1. I am torn about this, she IS part of the community. BUT the shoot, and whether she knew it or not is the question, was illegal, non permitted, and dangerous even with a permit.

    Did she deserve to die? No. But does she deserve to be in the Academy Memoriam? No, she doesn’t.

    I hope her medical bills are being covered by Workers Comp, I hope her family has recourse, if they are not.

    1. Grace, I know a great many people will take GREAT offense to your comment. The on set personnel in our industry are what allow you to sit in your comfy office where you are not in harms way.

      Sarah could have been any one of us on any shoot. Stop disrespecting the people who are willing to put themselves in extraordinarily dangerous situations for a film/TV show/commercial.

      The Acadmey recognizing her would be a recognition of all the regular crew members who put themselves in these situations daily for the above the line to get recognition at the award shows.

      1. Brando: I agree with Grace. She doesn’t belong in the Academy Memoriam. No one in the film business goes to work thinking that their lives are in jeopardy. They are just making a film or television show. You act as if they are soldiers. They are well paid techicians who most likely love what they do. What happened was horrific and the producers and director should be held accountable for her death. Someone should be put in jail for putting crew members lives at stake. Totally unforgiveable. As a member of the Academy, these memoriams are for distinguished member. What happened to Sarah was a tragedy but doesn’t warrant her being included in the Academy’s memoriam section.

        1. you people are too stupid to believe!
          do you see those car crashes? you idiots
          do you see those explosions? you idiots
          do you see those helicopter stunts? you idiots
          do you see those stunts? you idiots

          that’s us who are standing there, you idiots.

          Sarah MORE THAN deserved to be added to the In Memoriam at the 2014 Academy Awards. She represents all of us who work hard to bring YOU particular idiots the shows you enjoy. She is ONE crew member in nearly 100 years of Oscars, and WE needed it more than you could possibly understand, you idiots.

          Even the actors GET IT….you….you….you guessed it IDIOT.

          But since you are clearly idiots, and obviously are vastly outnumbered by the non idiots, I guess it’s fitting that you’d be so insensitive in front of the world, here.

      2. Don’t compare film workers to soldiers, its disrespectful. No where does it say you have to do dangerous work, we are making tv shows and movies, pure entertainment, we aren’t nurses or doctors, we aren’t fireman or policeman, we aren’t soldiers, we are entertainers. Nothing more. No one should have to worry about dying at work especially entertainers. Making it sound like she’s out there doing gods work in a warzone is not necessary. Nor do I think she belongs in the memoriam, I am saddened by the loss her family has encountered and I hope they find what ever sliver of happiness they can after losing a family member. This isn’t about above the line disrespecting crew so they can get recognition at an awards show.

        1. dear idiot

          you people are too stupid to believe!
          do you see those car crashes? you idiots
          do you see those explosions? you idiots
          do you see those helicopter stunts? you idiots
          do you see those stunts? you idiots

          that’s us who are standing there, you idiots.

          Sarah MORE THAN deserved to be added to the In Memoriam at the 2014 Academy Awards. She represents all of us who work hard to bring YOU particular idiots the shows you enjoy. She is ONE crew member in nearly 100 years of Oscars, and WE needed it more than you could possibly understand, you idiots.

          Even the actors GET IT….you….you….you guessed it IDIOT.

          But since you are clearly idiots, and obviously are vastly outnumbered by the non idiots, I guess it’s fitting that you’d be so insensitive in front of the world, here.

      3. *I AM* set crew. If a crew member feels they are in danger, then it is personal responsiblility to not work, walk away, and report it to either the producer, if s/he’s listening.

        The Academy “memorium” isn’t the place for her, we honor her, then we honor the PA who died, the AD who retired 30 years ago. It’s not the place.

      4. I don’t agree, this was not a accident could have been avoided and the academy awards can bring more awareness too the issues. she lost her life because someone dropped the ball. some mistakes are acceptable this one is not, don’t have its not rocket science to see that, RIP Beautiful Girl, my prayers go out to all that loved you,

    2. Why does it matter what shoot she was on in regards to the In Memoriam segment? If we go down that incredibly slippery slope, we start questioning whether someone who passed off-set should be included, or whether someone who passed from suicide should be included — how and when they passed is irrelevant. It’s really about the impact they had on the film community as a whole.

      Quite frankly, I personally think that, due to her still burgeoning career, she probably doesn’t belong in the main telecast. That said, the impact she will have on the community is yet to be seen, and my mind might change on that in the coming years. She certainly deserves to be on the website.

    3. I highly disagree. She is a filmmaker and should be in the Oscar – In Memoriam just as Phillip Seymour Hoffman will be – a heroine addict who died of an overdose.

      1. Good cause but PA’s, Interns and catering trucks will want in. What about the Van shuttle drivers? All Agents and Managers and Assistants? Gigi at The Palm? Let’s focus on getting casting directors nominated first before the florist gets a nod. Christ Almighty.

        1. If I am not mistaken, only but a small fraction of even Academy Members are mentioned in the In Memoriam tribute during the Oscar presentation and it has nothing to do with the way in which they died. Still, in this case because of the timing and nature of this tragedy, it would be a classy gesture on the part of the Academy to include Sarah in this year’s tribute. It would not dilute the exalted status of Academy Members, nor would it open the floodgates for anyone else to expect similar treatment. It would not make up for what happened to Sarah, nor would it alter the course of the legal consequences or aftermath of this tragedy in any way. It would simply be a way of honoring a young woman who lost her life working in this industry the Academy represents.

        2. Do not forget about those lowly prop makers . After all they only build the sets . I just I would help you out your Majesty . .

    4. If it were William Hurt who got hit and killed by the train, and not Sarah Jones, don’t you think he’d be mentioned in the Oscar Memorium?

  2. Her death is tragic. Including her during the “In Memoriam” segment of the Oscars, however, is not the appropriate response to call attention to the workplace issues surrounding her death.

      1. You should get a clue as to what exactly the in memoriam segment is. Let’s put everyone who’s ever worked on a film and unfortunately died in 2013/14 in it?

  3. The production applied for permits but was denied. They shot on the tracks in spite of that. Someone (Whoever decided to shoot there with the knowledge they could not) should go to prison for Negligent Homicide if the reason those permits were denied was because it was deemed too dangerous. If you are willing to put other people’s lives at risk you have to be willing to pay the price if it goes wrong.

    1. It’s hard to imagine the blame isn’t shared among a number of people, not a single person. They should all go to prison, I’m just worried that, in reality, it’ll be as hard to prove culpability here as it was with the “Twilight Zone” case. But as with that horrible incident, safety became the watch word for years and years to come. May this tragic event do the same.

        1. Hey Joe, you sound like a guy who doesn’t have to work for a living.

          Why don’t you tell us what that’s like?

          1. I know precisely what it is like to work on a film set. I well understand the chain of command and pressures within the crew to get the shot and make a day. Is anyone suggesting that the AD, Location manager, Director and producers are LIARS who told the crew that trains would be held and they had permission to be there? Maybe they did. I somehow doubt it. Unless you are one of the people on that crew and involved you don’t know. The public lynching is obnoxious. A child knows knows not to play on RR tracks. I have a very hard time believing that every person on that trestle did not know what they were doing was dangerous. I’ve been in plenty of situations where ONE PERSON stepped up and said I’m not comfortable with this. No one fired them. No one ridiculed them. Accept some personal responsibility for your own actions and safety. Everyone person that got on that trestle contributed to this. Including Sarah.

  4. This is why we have codes and compliance rules. If the structural engineers who study this shit said no, then apparently they saw a flaw somewhere. Point being, things are litigant enough without someone losing a life…if I was putting up the money, I would just scrap the film and the director…

  5. …if a qualification for the list is to not die under any illegal circumstances – Philip Seymour Hoffman, or any other actor’s tragic death caused by drug overdose, wont be on it, right?

  6. This is so sad in every respect. Having said that, I don’t remember any outcry for the child actors who were killed during Twilight Zone movie… enough said, I’m sure everyone involved in that accident will never forget what happened and it is not my intent to exploit them. Just saying.

  7. Neither of the two comments from those wishing to exclude her from the “In Memoriam” gives a reason. When I wrote my email to the Academy, I asked that she be included as a gesture of appreciation to the crews who make the movies they gather to celebrate every year. We don’t ask for much. Only that our union contracts be honored and that we don’t get killed at work. Two seconds of screen time on Oscar night seems a rather reasonable request of an organization that professes to honor the very craft we practice.

    1. Sarah didn’t distinquish herself in any way to be included in the memoriam section. What happened was a tragedy and the people responsible should go to jail. My heart goes out to Sarah’s friends and family but her body of work doesn’t entitle her to be included. The people responsible for Sarah’s death will hopefully end up in jail and they will have to live with that guilt forever. Please don’t label all producers/upms/and line producers as irresponsible. We have kids and respect the union guidelines. Please don’t let one low budget sleazy production team tarnish the reputations of many responsible DGA members.

      1. Marc, the 1st AD was DGA….. And Sarah did distinguish herself in her craft position. If you’re saying that her craft position is worthy of being distinguished then you have personified the kind of arrogance that pits crew against above the line. Make your next movie without a 2nd AC. Lets see how you make your day.

  8. These kind of safety issues happen everyday on set on both productions big and small and the need to bring them to light should be recognized. The AMPAS should ABSOLUTELY include her in this years “In Memoriam”. While she’s not a “big star” she represents every single crew member out there putting it on the line every day and in many ways represents the soul of the community itself. Sarah’s death could have happened to any crew member anywhere in the world and as an industry we should remember the reasons why this happened and the wonderful woman who lost her life.

  9. The production manager and AD should be going to jail. I really, really hope someone is held accountable here — that team didn’t set up on/near those tracks without orders and the idiots responsible for safety did not do their job.

  10. What I find mind blowing about this, aside from the obvious, is that if it was an “Above-the-Line” crew member (Director, Producer, Writer) it would not be a question of whether or not she should be included. She would be included. I am an “Above-the-Line” crew member and completely sickened by anyone that says that this young woman should not be included. I ask, Who should be included? Only Academy Members, Above-the-Line, Cast? It takes everyone on the crew to actually make a movie! Oh sorry, I forgot, you are so ego-centric and forgot (or maybe never paid attention) to the fact that it takes more than the “Above-the-Line Geniuses” to get a project done. She died in the line of duty! At the hands of the Director and Producers who were asleep at the wheel. Quite honestly, it was manslaughter! She should be honored and memorialized!

    1. I submit that everybody at the Oscars volunteer to get everyone “under the line” placed “above the line” from here on out – and share their paychecks equally with everyone. You’ll do that, right? Because we’re all equal here, right?

  11. Sarah should absolutely be included in the In Memoriam part of the Oscars. She represents ALL crew members who put their lives on the line to make the movies the Academy honors. Her death was tragic and unnecessary and the world needs to see her face and her name so that she will not be forgotten and so that attention can be drawn to the conditions and dangers film-workers experience. Without a crew, there ARE no films to honor…and she was as much a part of the process as anyone else the Academy chooses to remember.

  12. People should be focused on the prosecution of those negligent in her death and forget about stupid award show stuff.

    1. Thank you so much for focusing in on what’s important. There’s one issue to deal with folks: the prosecution of those who were responsible and/or did nothing to have prevented this. Don’t lose sight of this and as the slate says: Never Forget–Never Again.

  13. Shouldn’t be in. This isn’t the first time a crew member has died on a film. If she gets in, what would that say to all previous crew member deaths? I would be more concerned about making sure this doesn’t happen again and consequences to those responsible.

    1. This particular incident demonstrates Homicidal negligence similar to malpractice. Most accidents on film sets tend to have careful planning yet things can go wrong.

      This tragic death just shows the poor choice made by the production dept. and the “grown ups” (those who make the calls and decisions)
      They seemed to be misleading the crew they were in safe conditions. Stealing shots to help achieve the director’s vision happens alot in film industry pushing boundries.In this case they should be held accountable for entrapping their crew in a dangerous environment knowing very well they were taking huge risks and throwing the dice with lives.

  14. I’m sure she was a lovely person. I’m also sure she didn’t deserve to pass away and that someone deserves to be held accountable for it. I’m not really sure how or why this is a discussion that involves the Oscars? Thousands of people die every year who are connected to and have had a significant impact upon this industry but the fact is that the Oscar In Memorium section has always been about the biggest names who have passed away this year. On January 11, a man named Jophery Brown died on set. Jophery had a thirty-year career in this business with some of the biggest grossing movies every under his belt, but he probably won’t be in the In Memorium because he simply wasn’t a big enough name. This show is produced primarily for Joe Public and there is a finite amount of time for this particular section. Again, I don’t mean to belittle her death, but to take a stand like this won’t bring attention to her tragedy, it will simply confuse the general public and make them go, “Who?” Efforts and attention are better served going towards the family and making sure her senseless death is not repeated.

  15. First off my condolences are with the families and friends.

    Now, if someone can state how Sarah advanced/created/established something relevant to film history then sure put her in the In Memoriam. Otherwise, as sad and tragic her death is history and every other televised awards show doesn’t honor common deaths.

    If this is the case then we should start putting fans who fall to their deaths at sporting events into the espy In Memoriam.

  16. It’s tragic that she died…but I’m sorry: if Larry Hagman, Andy Griffith, Harry Carey Jr, Ann Rutherford, director Mel Stuart, and Phyllis Diller–among many others–didn’t get featured in the Oscar memorium last year, she gets a mention….why?

  17. As film crew member and former long time staff member of the Academy who quit because it is a petty and arrogant organization this oh so lofty comment merely confirms how petty and arrogant the Academy is…

  18. Unbelievable. Do you think PSH will be remembered? He killed himself. She is a victim of a business that puts money and schedule ahead of safety all the time. That is what this is also about. Safety. Hours are way to long. And to many greedy ignorant people run production companies. Sarah May have had no idea they weren’t allowed on the tracks. Racing around and cutting corners.

    1. Absolutely true. If not, go ask the women who got half her face ripped on the set of Transformers III because Michael Bay was screaming to the crew he wanted the shot done NOW!!

  19. This is not the first time a crew member has been killed on a film set. This IS the first time a crew member has been killed because DGA members (AD, UPM) knowingly and with forethought directed a crew into a non-permited, uncontrollable, dangerous location, that they knew had the potential to cause great bodily harm or death. THIS WAS NOT A FILM SET!!!!!!! IT IS NOW A CRIME SCENE!!!!

    1. Everyone: please remember the words of this poster. There is nothing else relevant and we should not get distracted by award shows and what the production, the distributor Open Road and their various attorneys and PR reps will try and cloud this tragedy with.

  20. There are Millions of People who are going to watch this “Slap me on My Back” for making a Movie that I Hope will Wins an Oscar so We can sell more Tickets with Re-release’s or DVD’s so We can make more Money… I’d like for all those Millions of People to Hear and See what can and does Happen during any Filming what ever the Project. The ISSUE is Crew Safety…thats it ..Nothing else….Sarah would want this Above All…We all want this…RESPECT HER…DAMN YOU MONEY GRABBING AOVE THE LINE HEARTLESS FOOLS……and Most Importantly THIS IS ABOUT A SISTER OF THIS INDUSTRY…. if IATSE LOCAL 80 GRIPS FROM HOLLYWOOD WERE THERE THIS WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED….TRUST ME…..30 yrs Experience Talking……FILM HOLLYWOOD……

  21. Seems like the only reasons people want her included is for selfish ones — she represents ME, it could’ve been ME, bigwigs have a responsibility to people like ME. Absolute bollocks. HER being included would be a political statement, not a fond recollection of HER contributions to the industry, therefore HER memory should not be tarnished by shoving HER image down peoples’ throats as “the girl who died on the irresponsible film shoot”.

    Rest in peace, Sarah, while the rest of us quarrel over nothing.

  22. gun to her head…? are you suggesting each crew member should check on the permits filed and approved everyday they go to work on a film set. I am sure there was some version of a safety meeting and the suggestion the location was cleared for filming. Not “beware of trains barreling down the tracks unexpectedly which need 300 yards to stop without any awareness our film crew is on the bridge”. have some respect prick.

    1. Yes, the film crew SHOULD know if they are working in a permitted area, or are being asked to work in a dangerous situation that has no permits.

      Where was the safety meeting? Where were the UPM/AD? (it is the responsibility of the DGA personnel to run these meetings.) Her death was tragic, but IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY of the crew member, including myself, to know what is going on within the shoot.

      Did she deserve to die? Absolut-effing-no. I hope her family sue the producer, production company, DGA, and anyone else they can find. Up-to-and-including the state for not having any type of monitor on set.

      Quarrel about nothing? Take cold comfort that her death may make a crew member think twice about doing something that makes them uncomfortable, that a DGA member (or non union crew member) ask why was there no safety meeting, that the IA set new rules/regs that any location post their permits (or something that reassures the crew that this situation has been vetted, and deemed safe.)

      This DOES NOT CHANGE the fact that Sarah did not advance the craft of film making. Drug addicts, drunks, or just bad people, are the ones who, if they have advanced the craft/art of film making, are the ones who are included in the Memorium. Under your rules, Cory whatzhisname shouldn’t have had the Emmy recognition of his death. (opening THAT can of worms.)

      My condolences to her family, her friends, and those who had to witness the horrible accident. But please remember, Sarah is not the only one who died, there are others who are in critical condition. Where is the outrage on their behalf?

  23. Joe, she may have chosen to walk down those tracks, but she probably did so with the reasonable understanding that routine safety measures had been taken prior to scheduling a scene to be shot on train tracks. The crew was not in the loop regarding the danger they were being put in. We are not talking about a bunch of rogue film students stealing footage on live tacks despite the risk. We are talk abor a professional film crew who are relying on their producers and ADs to have taken the necessary measures to ensure their safety. I would have done the same thing had I been on set. Because I never NEVER in a million years would have assumed the producers had chosen to disregard the train company when they were denied a permit. The information did not flow all the way down the line, I assure you.

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