Joi “SJ” Harris, a woman billed as the “First African-American Female Pro Road Racer” died while attempting a motorcycle stunt for a Hollywood movie studio. It was the first film she had ever worked on.
She was performing a stunt for the production of Deadpool 2. The movie is being filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Entertainment.
Producers wanted a racially diverse cast. However, according to the Hollywood Reporter, they could not find a qualified black female stuntwoman for actress Zazie Beetz, who is playing a motorcycle riding character called Domino. In the Marvel comic books, Domino is a pale white female with blue eyes.
Beetz is actually a fairly light-skinned racially mixed woman. It would not have been uncommon for a white female stunt-double to have been used. In fact, sometimes stunts for female actors are even performed by men. However, producers allegedly insisted that her stunts be performed by someone black and female.
According to Hollywood Reporter, multiple test runs of the stunt were conducted and they went poorly. The crew notified the producers that Harris could not safely perform the stunt. Another stuntman told Hollywood Reporter that producers insisted on using Harris because she is black.
The producers of the movie are Simon Kinberg, Stan Lee, Kelly McCormick, Rhett Reese, Ryan Renoylds, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ethan Smith, Aditya Sod, and Paul Warnick.