A Rust crewmember got bitten by a brown recluse spider on set & there’s a GoFundMe

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Production has been stopped on on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set of Rust since cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’s death on October 22. As you know, she was fatally shot by after a prop gun Alec Baldwin discharged contained live ammunition. Director Joel Souza was also injured and was treated and released. Now there’s news that another accident happened on set. A crewmember named Jason Miller may have to get his arm amputated after he was bit by a brown recluse spider while wrapping production. We know about this because there’s a GoFundMe to help cover Miller’s medical expenses. Here’s the text of that GoFundMe:

Jason Miller, IATSE Local 480 pipe rigger and lamp operator, is in need of our support. Jason was working as part of the wrap team on the production ‘Rust’ at Bonanza Creek when he was bitten by a brown recluse spider. In a matter of days he experienced severe symptoms including necrosis of his arm and sepsis. He has been hospitalized and endured multiple surgeries each day as doctors do their best to stop the infection and try to save his arm from amputation.

It will be a very long road to recovery for Jason if the medical team at Abq Lovelace is able to save his arm. If under worse circumstances he loses his arm, this is a life-changing and devastating event for Jason and his family. For any who are able to support and offer contributions to help Jason get through this painful and challenging time, it would be incredibly helpful and greatly appreciated.

Jason sends his gratitude for the kind words, thoughts and prayers that his fellow union brothers and sisters are sending to him.

On behalf of Jason and his mother, Judy, “Thank you, IATSE and Local 480 are truly a wonderful family.”

[From GoFundMe via The Guardian]

The GoFundMe was started by the union to help defray costs and provide for his family while he’s out of work. They’ve raised over $12,000, exceeding their $5,000 goal. This could be extra money for his family, but I don’t understand how the Rust production isn’t immediately covering his medical costs and time off work. Of course no one could have predicted this accident, unlike the very negligent, possibly criminal circumstances that led to Hutchins’s death. Rust should still be paying for everything upfront. The more I hear about this movie set the worse it sounds. Many of the crewmembers walked off set before Hutchins’s death and there must have been a very good reason for that. I hope Miller has a full recovery and is able to keep his arm. My mom went through MRSA in her leg and it was excruciating for her.


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16 Responses to “A Rust crewmember got bitten by a brown recluse spider on set & there’s a GoFundMe”

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  1. Genevieve says:

    Why in the holiest of hells is a health insurance coverage not taking care of this matter? Either the crew members are uninsured or this is not covered by their policy. Either way—unacceptable.

    • teecee says:

      If he’s in IATSE, he’s got union insurance so I’m as stumped as you are.

    • Bettyrose says:

      It sounds like the gofundme is to cover lost wages and support his family. Still, YTF doesn’t the studio have sufficient workers comp? Like, crew accidents resulting in sick leave and lost income are always a possibility.

    • NicB says:

      To me it seems his union health insurance is paying. The other funds being raise are for loss of work. Maybe their Workers Comp was invalidated when production shut down. I work in HR and this is how I am reading it. However, Hollywood and their unions have things set up very differently than the corporate world.

      That said, I cannot imagine the agony of being bitten by one of those. I just did a quick google search and really feel for this man. Hope all ends well and his care team is diligent.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Years ago, I got a spider bite on my shin. My lower leg blew up like a football, and I couldn’t even stand on it for a few days. Went to the emergency room on crutches; got oral antibiotics. They tried 4 different types of antibiotics over 6-7 wks. w/out much change; I developed cellulitis from it and I ended up in the hospital for 8 days on 24 hr. antibiotic drip. Spider bites are nothing to take lightly!

      • Drea says:

        I have two friends that were bitten by them. One has a huge dent in her buttcheek because it necrotized that area, and the other was out for a week from work with fevers and chills.

        It’s a good thing they are a rare spider bite. And even more rare in NM, so he may not have gotten treatment quickly enough, thinking he would be ok, or that it was a wolf spider or something.

  2. Stellainnh says:

    I got bit on my back by a brown recluse years ago. It took over 8 weeks to heal. I had a big ugly scab followed by an ulcer that took about 4 weeks to close up. It then was constantly itchy for over a year.

    If a spider bites a person’s appendage, that is so much worse. The venom causes necrosis to tissues and the body start becoming inflamed as a response. Immediate medical attention is necessary. Sounds like they are out in the sticks.

  3. Christine says:

    Interesting that the production company doesn’t just scrap this project and cut their loses. I can’t imagine this film is going to perform well for them to get their money back.

  4. Rachel says:

    I was bitten by a brown recluse on my foot about 4 years ago. I can not express strongly enough how awful it was. The venom was so strong that I had partial muscle paralysis that went all the way up to my neck for about 48 hours. Violent vomiting, etc etc. Thankfully, I got care pretty quickly and the part of my foot the venom necrotized ended up being quite small. This gave me the shivers remembering my own incident.

  5. Izzy says:

    This production is definitely going to be an episode of Cursed Films.

  6. WithTheAmerican says:

    I only worked on one film that was run this poorly and it was after my actual film career and as a favor to a student. Let that be a lesson. She was rich spoiled wannabe, but didn’t pay anyone but the people she liked and she compromised safety constantly for her “vision.”

    I’m a big defender of indie films but especially when they’re using people who want to advance their careers, which is most common, those people are vulnerable to being abused and indie wannabe filmmakers can be the worst tyrants.

    Wtf though, Alex. He knows better. The PM and AD on this set are in a heap of trouble, too.

  7. Amber says:

    If it happened while he was on the clock, he should have a workers comp claim and he shouldn’t pay a single cent for any of his medical treatment. I can’t imagine why that’s not the case, except the general negligence this production seems to have for just about everything. Hopefully it gets sorted out. Brown recluses scare me to death. I hope they are able to save this guy’s arm. What a cursed production.

  8. Abby says:

    Um well this is an education for me. I just moved into an apartment three months ago and brown recluse spiders were present. I haven’t seen any in about a month but while I knew they were hated, I didn’t know death and amputation were a possibility! FFS!!!! The leasing office was just like, yeah we have sticky traps if you need them. I had googled and there was an article saying brown recluse get a bad rap because they’re just hunter spiders. Mothereffer now I’m going to obsess.

    • H says:

      I just moved to the mid-West and they are very prevalent here and esp. in Missouri. I have my house sprayed every month and if I see a spider INSIDE, I kill it. Now I know spiders help keep the mosquito population down, but my brother got bit by a brown recluse a few years ago. The idiot waited to see a doctor and wound up in the hospital for a week, had part of his leg cut out, and then had an allergic reaction to Penicillin treating the infection from the venom.

      Brown recluses are not something to be messed with. I’m very careful going in my attic, basement and doing gardening outside. I hope this crew member recovers and doesn’t need an amputation.

      PS @Abby, shake your clothes and shoes out, they like to hide.

  9. The Recluse says:

    Yikes. Brown Fiddlers….and I thought our NM Black Widows and scorpions were bad enough.