Film Production Company Fined Over Deadly Shooting

Film Production Company Fined Over Deadly Shooting

( – On October 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin fired a shot from a gun on the set of his film, “Rust.” The weapon contained a live round, and the action resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Over the past several months, there’s been a lot of speculation and debate over who should be held responsible for the tragic accident. Now, an investigative report has resulted in the production company facing fines.

On April 20, New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau said its investigation found that Rust Movie Productions, LLC, failed to follow the film industry guidelines. The bureau fined the production company nearly $137,000, the maximum fine allowable per state law.

Investigation Findings

The report had some disturbing findings, which it concluded after reviewing over 500 documents and carrying out over a dozen interviews. In the official report, the bureau said Rust management ignored crucial information, including concerns from those working on set who said the firearm misfired, not once, but twice, before the shooting that killed Hutchins. These misfires took place on October 16, five days before the accident. In the wake of these incidents, management didn’t implement safety measures to ensure misfires didn’t occur again.

Additionally, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the armorist in charge of the weapons was stretched thin as she was performing two roles on set. It also states she didn’t have enough time to ensure the weapon’s safety and didn’t have the authority to mandate gun training. In what may be the most concerning evidence of all, Gabrielle Pickle, Rust’s line producer, emailed Reed and told her she was spending too much time on the gun-handling portion of her role and not enough on props.

In a news release, James Kenney, New Mexico’s Environment Cabinet Secretary, called out Rust Movie Productions for its role in the accident, saying it wouldn’t have happened if the company “followed national film industry standards for firearm safety.”

Baldwin’s Accountability

Many have pointed the finger at Baldwin, saying he should be held accountable for the accident since he was the last one to handle the weapon before discharging it. The actor, however, has denied any responsibility. His attorney, Luke Nikas, made a statement on Baldwin’s Instagram account saying that the investigation exonerates the actor, whose responsibilities as a producer were “approving script changes and creative casting.”

Nikas went on to say “We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”

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