'Spider-Man' accident blamed on 'human error'
The accident that sent a Spider-Man stunt double to the hospital was the result of “human error,” according to the Actors’ Equity Association. In a statement, the union said they had “worked today with the Department of Labor, OSHA and the production to determine that the cause of the accident at last night’s performance of Spider-Man was, in fact, human error.”
Christopher Tierney had to be hospitalized after falling approximately 30 feet during an acrobatic scene towards the end of Monday night’s performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
Scott Fisher, president of the company that builds equipment for the show’s aerial stunts, told the Washington Post that Tierney’s rope was supposed to have been clipped to the stage at one end and his back at the other. “The stage crew would have been responsible for making the connection for hooking him up,” Fisher said. “The actor is responsible for making the final check that he’s good to go. It’s sort of like packing your own parachute.”
Several members of the Broadway fraternity went online to criticize the production, which has suffered several delays and high-profile accidents. Rent star Adam Pascal wrote on Facebook: “I hope [Tierney] is ok and sues the sh– out of Julie, Bono, Edge and every other a–hole who invested in that steaming pile of actor crippling sh–!”
Tony-winning actress Alice Ripley wrote on Twitter, “Spider-Man should be ashamed of itself. Thiis is completely unacceptable and embarrassing to working actors everywhere.” She then added, “Does someone have to die? Where is the line for the decision makers, I am curious.”
9 to 5 actor Marc Kudisch also wrote on Facebook, “I wish employment for all my friends. But I wish them safety and security in their employment even more.”
Director Julie Taymor said in a statement: “An accident like this is obviously heartbreaking for our entire team and, of course, to me personally. I am so thankful that Chris is going to be alright and is in great spirits. Nothing is more important than the safety of our Spider-Man family and we’ll continue to do everything in our power to protect the cast and crew.”
Update: The Wednesday evening performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has been cancelled to allow crew members to fully implement a new safety plan. However, a spokesman for the show, Rick Miramontez, denied media reports that the show was being shut down indefinitely. “Absolutely false,” Miramontez told The New York Times. “The performance is on for tomorrow night.”