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‘Midnight Rider’ charges pave the way for new film industry rules

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Today’s charges against the filmmakers of ‘Midnight Rider’ will certainly make producers think twice about on-set-safety and what responsibility they hold to ensure their crews are in adequate working environments.

The debate about on-set safety is bound to continue for a long time, but the risks of prosecution could be enough to change the way film producers negotiate contracts with their cast and crew.

Sarah Jones’ father, Richard Jones issued this statement today following the charges:

“Elizabeth and I are comfortable that the authorities were both careful and meticulous in investigating and bringing charges related to the incident that took our daughter’s life. We must allow the criminal justice process to proceed unhindered. Our mission remains the same: to ensure safety on all film sets. Safety for Sarah.”

Outside the argument of better on-set safety, we have overwhelming evidence that simply talking and doing noting is going to be a recipe for disaster. What happened in Georgia, could have happened in the UK, as we were so coldly reminded earlier this year when a near-fatal on set accident in London became a trending debate.

The outcome is far from certain about film safety, but to see filmmakers being subjected to potential jail terms up to 10 years will bring shock to those in Hollywood who have yet to implement more stringent oversight.

Who’s to blame? How do we factor all of this in? Was ‘Midnight Rider’ a one-off or are we looking at a ticking time-bomb with other productions, and indie shoots looking to break the rules? For now, it looks like risk taking is no longer acceptable.

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