Panteao Productions has issued a statement to explain their involvement in NDGate, which swept social media over the weekend. Since the incident seems to have started with them, it seems appropriate that we share their statement.
But first, let’s catch everyone up who missed out. It all began Thursday evening when video surfaced showing tactical trainer Travis Haley appearing to have a negligent discharge of an AK rifle he was using for demonstration purposes. According to Panteao’s statement, they did not authorize the release of the video so they removed it from public access on YouTube, but by that time, the video clip was in the wild. Like we’ve said so many times, you can’t take the internet back. We posted an article which linked to an edited version of the video. Soon, that video was hit with a copyright claim by Panteao and was taken down. At that point, we figured they were in damage control mode and were playing whack-a-mole so there was no point in having an article up that relied on a missing video. Instead, we removed our article, with a decision to reengage once things settled down. However, the majority of the comments in our post were quite positive. They understood that NDs happen and that it was a valuable teaching tool.
For social media, comedy is the mother of invention, and over the weekend, dozens of remixes of the video appeared on Facebook and Instagram. Some were more amusing that others.
Eventually, Travis Haley chose to comment on the developing situation. Remember, that positive attitude that saw the situation as a teaching tool? Well, apparently Haley didn’t. Instead, he denied it had happened and claimed that Panteao was out to slander him. Granted, this whole situation would have been avoided had the video not made its way into the wild, but Haley’s response unfortunately had the effect of throwing gasoline on a fire. There’s a video below. When you finish reading this, make sure you watch the whole thing.
Some of Haley’s animosity toward Panteao may stem from this link on Panteao’s site: panteao.com/discontinued-video-titles. This move by Panteao was in response to Haley’s statement not long before on Facebook that the videos he had created while at Magpul Dynamics were no longer valid and that his fans should no longer purchase them. His position was that he had moved on to newer techniques. Magpul fans, and apparently Paneao Productions, took it as sour grapes. Perhaps concerned that he might eventually do the same to them, Panteao seems to have taken preemptive action. As you can see, this situation has been brewing for some time.
Now, on to Panteao’s statement (and accompanying video) on the situation:
February 7, 2016
This will be the first and last time we comment publicly on this incident. Given the firestorm surrounding the video which was recently released without our authorization, we felt it necessary to publicly state our position regarding the matter:
The relationship between Panteao Productions and Travis Haley ended over a year ago because of a disagreement over whether or not training should have an expiration date. Much to the disappointment of those who primarily use the internet to create and feed off of other people’s drama, and despite our past differences in opinion, we have nothing but respect for Travis’ accomplishments, and wish him the best in his future endeavors.
The video in question was not posted by Panteao for public consumption, and more importantly, was never intended to be seen externally. It was unlisted on our YouTube Channel, and was designated for in-house training purposes. It was intended to be a humorous reminder shared with crew members and collaborating instructors of what we don’t want to have happen during filming. It had been forgotten about until the link was shared publicly by one of the instructors we had been working with up until this point. At this time we are still unsure why they (the other instructor) felt the need to share the link publicly, regardless, once we became aware of the developing situation we deleted the video from our YouTube channel and had it removed wherever we came across it. There was nothing derogatory/defamatory intended by the video, or its description.
Anyone that has spent any serious amount of time doing this at the professional level knows that NO ONE IS ABOVE MAKING A MISTAKE. We have multiple layers of safety in place to prevent them, but at the end of the day there is absolutely nothing we are able to do that can entirely remove the human element from the equation. We decided to utilize the video as a tool to show our crew members that no matter someone’s level of past experience, background, or accomplishment that the possibility for an accident always exists. It served as a reminder to us; always wear eyes and ears on set, confirm the condition of any firearms the talent may be using to demonstrate techniques with, and to watch our position in relation to the muzzle whether or not a segment was intended to be live fired. Unfortunately individuals from the Haley Strategic camp have started spreading inaccurate statements about how the video was published intentionally to hurt Travis and that it was not a Negligent Discharge in the first place.
It is disheartening that Travis has failed to acknowledge what took place. We don’t care to speculate why someone with his abilities and background feels the need to deny their own fallibility, common to all of us, so vehemently. He handled the situation as best as anyone could at the time and pressed on during filming, as one would expect from a professional. Internally, we saw the opportunity the video represented for us, and utilized it to illustrate things that WE could do better on set.
The big question now is “was this really a negligent discharge?” or something staged or edited to look like one. The scene in question was not intended to be live fired, thus none of the crew had their hearing protection on, neither did Travis. It was strictly a demo of different Russian techniques. There were MULTIPLE individuals standing in close proximity to Travis, any of whom who would have reminded him to put his ears on if live fire was intended. In the crystal clear light of hindsight, one of the errors that occurred was having a hot gun for this particular scene. As the ones ultimately responsible for the safety of the production, that particular error falls on us, and it was one of the many lessons we took away from the incident. When the rifle discharged into the side berm, ears were ringing and as is common in these situations, everyone took a moment to look at each other and inspect for new holes. Travis summed it up best in the video “That didn’t work.”
So let’s talk about what works:
1. All Guns Are Always Loaded.
2. Never Let The Muzzle Cover Anything You Are Not Willing To Destroy.
3. Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger (And Out Of The Trigger Guard) Until Your Sights Are On
4. Be Sure Of Your Target.
Most importantly, do not allow yourself to become complacent. Familiarity breeds contempt, and contempt breeds complacency. In this business, complacency kills. We are saddened that this has become such a public incident, but since the cat is out of the bag, let’s all utilize it for the learning tool it is. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and there is nothing wrong in acknowledging that.
If you have any doubts as to what happened, watch the whole uncut sequence. At the end of the clip we’ve also included two additional references to the incident that Travis made later that same day during shooting. As we have maintained throughout this entire incident, we have nothing but respect for Travis and his past accomplishments, and we wish him the best. However, we are not able to condone someone attempting to rewrite their personal history to save themselves a little embarrassment, especially when in doing so our own reputation and professionalism is called into question. Let’s all spend our energy on more productive endeavors, and move on from this incident having learned an important lesson.
Panteao Productions, LLC