The producers of the hit movie Deadpool 2 have been hit with a near $300,000 penalty concerning the death of stuntwoman Joi Harris for failure to provide a safe workplace. The motorcycle accident occurred on the film’s Vancouver set back in August of 2017. The fine, $289,562 in total, was imposed by WorkSafeBC (Canada’s equivalent to OSHA) to TCF Vancouver Productions LTD.
This was Harris’ first job as a stuntwoman and reports, via Deadline, say that Harris was working with the film’s second unit photography when the fatal accident occurred. She had completed five takes of the stunt and it was on the sixth take that Harris crashed.
According to a source close to the production, “In the maneuver, which was never more than 15 kilometers per hour – [a little less than] 10 miles an hour – she rode on a flat surface through two open doors and then turned left and went out of camera range,” the source said. “Her exit was a safety ramp to a big platform where the bike was supposed to stop, but she overshot the platform, hit a curb, and was thrown from the bike through a glass window.”
WorkSafeBC’s description matches that of the source, “a temporary worksite had been set up to record a film scene for a movie production. The site had been cordoned off from general public and traffic by the Vancouver Police Department. The worker had been rehearsing a stunt scene that involved driving a motorcycle, Dictate 939 Hyperstrada, out of the open doors of a building, across a concrete pad and down a ramp that had been built over three stairs and coming to a stop on the stair landing. During the first shooting of the scene the stunt driver continued driving beyond the planned stopping spot on the stairway landing and continued to drive down a second ramp built over the bottom stairs and across the roadway. The motorcycle struck the concrete sidewalk curb, the worker was thrown off the motorcycle and propelled through a plate glass window of a building.”
In their final conclusion, WorkSafeBC was able to identify five separate violations: 1) Failure to conduct a risk assessment; 2) Failure to provide new worker orientation; 3) Inadequate workplace set-up and planning; 4) Lack of safety headgear, and 5) Failure to ensure the health and safety of workers.
As for Harris’ family, it is only Harris’ mother who remains in her immediate family. Michael Buckley, who represents the family told The Hollywood Reporter, “Joi’s mom lost the only other person in this world who was there,” Buckley said, “Her husband died a few years ago, it’s a very sad situation.”
Buckley, though, was very pleased with the outcome given that 20th Century Fox’s insurer, Chubb, initially told Buckley that they intended to fight the family on every front. He said that he received a letter from Chubb, very offensive in nature, laying “out every defense under the sun,” Buckley recalled, “They said they were going to fight every single thing.”
So, he prepared for war. Not only was he going to go after 20th Century, but he was also going after Marvel and Maximum Effort, the production studio owned by Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds. Buckley was even taking shots at individuals from the set they felt responsible for the tragic accident.
But in the end, 20th Century Fox stepped up big time. Buckley received a call from 20th Century informing him that they would be dealing with him directly, leaving Chubb out in the cold. “They were very responsible, good people and it seemed to me that they were well aware of the issue of stunt driver safety, and even seemed to be on the cutting edge of it,” Buckley said, “I was very impressed.” Details of the final settlement have not been released and there is no comment from 20th Century’s new boss Disney nor Harris’ family.