In a tragic turn of real-life events, a hit-and-run took the life of a crew member from one of Netflix’s most bingeworthy TV shows, Outer Banks, on July 5. His name was Alexander “AJ” Jennings, and he was 22 years old at the time of his death. Jennings had worked as a stand-in for Chase Stokes, the lead actor who plays the show’s John B character. Stokes has spoken out about the accident that claimed his friend’s life, saying he was “shattered” and “still trying to process” why it had to happen in the first place. More recently, Jennings’ family has shared that the cast has been very supportive in the wake of the tragedy, but there’s one way that everyone can help make an even bigger difference in their view.
Outer Banks, which follows the ever-complicated teenage conflicts of an off-shore North Carolinian friend group, was just renewed by Netflix for a third season last December. Among what we know so far about Season 3 is that the cast has been filming in Charleston, South Carolina for a few months, including AJ Jennings up until his untimely death. Speaking to TMZ, his mother LuJean Jennings noted that both the cast and crew generously offered to cover the costs for her son’s funeral arrangements.
It's certainly a sweet gesture on their part. However, AJ Jennings’ mom told the outlet that a better way for fans and others to honor the stunt double’s memory would be to donate to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Evidently, the late performer was originally born in Russia and was adopted by his family at just 18 months old. They say he found Russia’s invasion and ongoing conflict with Ukraine to be very upsetting, therefore any donations to the organization in his name goes to a cause near and dear to his heart. The funds would go toward providing supplies and necessities to Ukrainian refugees who are fleeing their country at present.
Other celebs have likewise been advocating for donations in recent months, as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to rock the region. Mila Kunis, who was born in the Ukraine herself, and her husband Ashton Kutcher have already helped fundraise more than $30 million through a self-made GoFundMe campaign. Meanwhile, former Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel has shared that her non-profit has raised more than $100 million for Ukraine in the last update, per The Ellen Show.
It’s a good cause, and one that would bring some much-needed positivity after the shocking accident. AJ Jennings was reportedly hit by two cars while walking along the highway between Charleston’s James Island and Folly Beach. Both vehicles sped away after impact, leaving the young man at the scene. As of this writing, the crime is currently under investigation by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, per their news release, but no suspects have been located or arrested.
Though AJ Jennings is now gone, he is clearly not forgotten by his family, friends and the rest of the Outer Banks cast. Fans looking to honor his life in the way his family thinks is best can go to www.ifrc.org/donate or www.icrc.org/en/donate/ukraine to make a donation. We here at CinemaBlend offer our condolences at this time.
Freelance writer. Favs: film history, reality TV, astronomy, French fries.
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