UPDATED: Warner Bros. Television has refuted charges of unsafe working conditions on “Riverdale” a week after the show’s star was involved in a late-night car crash.
“The safety of the cast and crew on all of our productions is of paramount importance to the Studio,” a studio spokesperson said in a pair of statements issued Thursday. “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.”
K.J. Apa, who plays Archie Andrews on the Warner Bros. Television-produced series, was involved in a crash last week that caused severe damage to his vehicle, but left him without significant injuries. Apa was treated by first responders on the scene and visited by doctors the following morning before returning to set the day after the crash. The actor had been driving a rental car after being involved in a minor accident near set a few days earlier.
Regarding Apa’s crash, the studio spokesperson said, “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.”
On Thursday, SAG-AFTRA vowed in a statement to investigate the conditions on the set. “This is an extremely troubling situation and we are deeply concerned about the safety of performers on the ‘Riverdale’ set,” the union said. “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.”
Following the accident, several actors confronted producers regarding transportation policies for the show, which they believed contributed to an unsafe work environment. Warner Bros. does not provide transportation to and from the show’s Vancouver set. However, the studio’s policy for “Riverdale” and all of its series is to provide transportation upon request for all cast and crew should they feel too tired to drive at the end of the workday. As with other shows, production on “Riverdale” often stretches into very late hours. A source says that the studio policy of providing a car service or taxi — as well as a nearby hotel room — upon request to any cast or crew member was announced at the start of production this season and is reiterated periodically in notices attached to call sheets.
A representative for Apa did not respond to a request for comment.