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Oscar Winning Cinematographer Calls Sarah Jones Death 'Criminal Negligence'

Two time Academy Award Winning director of photography, Haskell Wexler came out to support the mounting movement for responsibility in the on-set death of Midnight Rider crew member Sarah Jones.

In 2006, he directed a documentary Who Needs Sleep? about the dangers TV and film crews face in situations where filming is more of a priority than health concerns. Wexler sent a letter to members of the IATSE Local 600 which was released by Deadline, announcing Wexler's support to include Jones's name in Sundays Oscars IN Memoriam tribute. He called the death in Thursday's train accident an act of 'criminal negligence.' Wexler previously co-founded a group called 12 on/ 12 off which advocates a reorganization of standards to disallow excessively long work hours and questionable working conditions in the film and TV industry.

Read Wexler's letter below:

  Dear Fellow Workers, I am part of a group asking that Sarah Jones’ name be included in the Academy’s “In Memoriam” section of the Awards telecast this Sunday. Sarah and the three injured crew members were not victims of an “accident” but of criminal negligence. Something that would not have happened if proper safety rules were in place. Here is a copy of an ad rejected by our Union magazine, ICG. I was told that the magazine is on, “high alert” on this subject of workplace safety, especially if it comes from me! In this case, the subject comes from the IATSE. They say the magazine doesn’t want to deal with this “political football” even though it is an official IATSE resolution. midnightriderwexler Employers will work you longer for less money and under questionable safety conditions because it is their duty to prioritize the bottom line. As individuals we cannot complain. That’s why we need a Union to speak for us, certainly when our safety, our health, and our very lives are at stake! Since they’ve abdicated that responsibility, please join us at 12on12off. Wear the hat and never forget that as human beings we believe that every person’s health, safety and life is worth more than any film or TV show we can produce. Take it easy but take it, Haskell Source: Deadline  

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