On Thursday, two actors from the Netflix series were killed and six other crew members were injured in a van crash near Mulege, a town on the Baja California Sur peninsula.
Now friends of the victims—Raymundo Guarduno Cruz and Juan Francisco González Aguilar, known professionally as “Paco Mufote”—are up against Netflix and the independent production company behind the show, SelectedClaiming that the cast members were complaining about poor transportation and logistics.
Liliana Konalisk Gallegos, a friend of Mufotte’s who has worked in the film industry, and is an artist and scholar, told The Daily Beast that she was shocked to hear of allegations that the crew were being exploited to save money. and was furious.
“Paco touched the hearts of everyone he ever met, he was a great actor with a strong sense of humor,” Gallegos told The Daily Beast. “He loved acting and playing music more than anything else in the world and devoted himself to it, at times facing financial hardship. He sacrificed his love for acting.”
“It fills me with anger that reports of abuse and exploitation are being shared by people involved in the production,” she said. “I want to demand that this be further investigated. If nothing was going wrong, then there should be no problem in providing information.”
“It saddens me to think that he was taken advantage of, that he was being forced to work in subpar conditions, especially for a multi-millionaire company like Netflix.”
Netflix declined to comment but confirmed to The Daily Beast that two members died during transit from Santa Rosalia to the local airport.
A spokesperson said the accident was not on set, and that two other cast members and four crew members were injured and in stable condition. The rep said Netflix’s thoughts are with the families of the deceased actors and that Redrum, the production company behind the series, has temporarily halted filming. The company would not comment further as the investigation is ongoing, the person said.
According to the streaming service’s website, Selected Mark Miller and Peter Gross and centers on a 12-year-old boy who “learns that he is the returned Jesus Christ, destined to save mankind.”
The Associated Press and local media reported that the film crew’s white van capsized on Thursday afternoon after crossing a peninsular highway and into a desert area. a casting call in background The magazine lists the TV series as American Jesus and as the production company Redrum. In April, the website What’s On Netflix reported that shooting had begun on the series.
On Friday, novelist Rick Zazueta shared a scathing Facebook post calling for an investigation and blaming the Mexican film industry.
“People are coming to Baja California to exploit natural and human resources and do nothing but increase their wallet, ego and portfolio,” Zazueta said angrily.
In his post, Zazueta claimed, “For weeks, people close to this production have known that the logistics have been terrible. The actors have not stopped complaining about how badly they are being treated especially in the field of transportation and logistics. Locations in Santa Rosalia, Loreto and San Ignacio, flights from La Paz and Tijuana, old panels with flat tyres, exhausted and over-exploited drivers.
He also claimed that Pratibha was “taken like cattle to save a few pesos.”
“Shame on the Mexican film industry, Evarardo Gout and Stacey Persky must face it and not hide behind Casting Director Luis Rosales – who was asked to pass the news of these great actors’ families,” Zazueta said. wrote. “We cannot make the mistake of letting this happen, we cannot let the death of these gentlemen go in vain. The film industry has to change, in this country we have once again paid a huge price but we have to uphold the rights of the deceased.” “
Last year, things looked promising for the series. Comic writer Miller told time limit“for development American Jesus Coming along beautifully in the talented and capable hands of Everardo Gout (of Marvel) luke cage, holy lie) and Leopoldo gout (molly’s game, natural instinct) I’m overwhelmed by the creative options Netflix has allowed us, and especially since the series will feature Spanish and English dialogue.
For her part, Gallegos said she has worked in film production in the US and that independent film companies are “quipping in every way.”
“I have worked in production in America, when independents are taking all kinds of quips,” he said. “They work independently and then sell the work to large houses of production. That way they can turn a blind eye to labor abuse.”
“I really want to say that this is a real issue that is global and it is parallel to that issue of outsourcing,” she told The Daily Beast. “We may be seeing parallel forms of abuse and exploitation. We don’t know much at the moment. We just want answers.”
“I am not accusing Netflix of anything. I just demand that there be further investigation.”
Meanwhile, actor and director Fernando Bonilla took to twitter To mourn his friend Cruz, whom he had spoken to hours before his death.
“It is imperative that production report the number of hours the driver who lost control of the truck rested,” wrote Bonilla.
“I’m devastated,” Bonilla continued in formula one. “Ray was an actor, director and cultural manager who adopted Tijuana as his home. He was a celebratory and generous friend.”
“Many film and television productions overuse drivers, leading to these fucking tragedies. I just found out and I can’t believe it. I have a broken heart.”