On Thursday, there was a terrible accident on the New Mexico set of Rust. Alec Baldwin was handling what he thought was an unloaded prop gun, and he shot and killed Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer and director of photography on the film. He also shot and wounded Rust director Joel Souza, who is apparently in stable condition. Alec posted this statement on Twitter on Friday:
There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.
I wasn’t expecting him to issue a statement online, I kind of thought he would issue one through his publicist or something. Maybe he wanted to say it personally, in his own words. The Sun also reported that Hilaria Baldwin left Manhattan really quickly on Friday – she either took the kids to the Hamptons or she’s packed up to be with Alec in New Mexico.
As for what actually happened on the Rust set, I was very wary of the initial reports of who said what and when and whether Baldwin was at fault. The police investigation is ongoing, but trust the LA Times to have a comprehensive breakdown on what happened on the New Mexico set of an independent film. This LA Times piece is long, but here are the most relevant pieces of information:
Union workers walked off the job six hours before the shooting: About six hours before the shooting, a half-dozen camera crew workers walked off the set to protest working conditions. The camera operators and their assistants were frustrated by the conditions surrounding the low-budget film, including complaints about long hours, long commutes and waiting for their paychecks, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
There were already huge safety concerns: Safety protocols standard in the industry, including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on the “Rust” set near Santa Fe, the sources said. They said at least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to a production manager about gun safety on the set. Three crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set on Saturday said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges.
Accidental discharges: Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times. “There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.” A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires that he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.
What happened on Thursday: The tragedy occurred Thursday afternoon during filming of a gunfight that began in a church that is part of the old Western town at the ranch. Baldwin’s character was supposed to back out of the church… Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was huddled around a monitor lining up her next camera shot when she was accidentally killed by the prop gun fired by Baldwin. The actor was preparing to film a scene in which he pulls a gun out of a holster, according to a source close to the production. Crew members had already shouted “cold gun” on the set. The filmmaking team was lining up its camera angles and had yet to retreat to the video village, an on-set area where the crew gathers to watch filming from a distance via a monitor. Instead, the B-camera operator was on a dolly with a monitor, checking out the potential shots. Hutchins was also looking at the monitor from over the operator’s shoulder, as was the movie’s director, Joel Souza, who was crouching just behind her.
The second gun pull: Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza. Hutchins immediately fell to the ground as crew members applied pressure to her wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
There are reports now that the gun was loaded with live rounds: Late Friday, the Associated Press reported that Baldwin was handed a loaded weapon by an assistant director who indicated it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fired it, according to court records. The assistant director did not know the prop gun was loaded with live rounds, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe County court.
The armorer: The person in charge of overseeing the gun props, known as the armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, could not be reached for comment. The 24-year-old is the daughter of veteran armorer Thell Reed and had recently completed her first film as the head armorer for the movie “The Old Way,” with Clint Howard and Nicolas Cage.
The Times says that Halyna Hutchins was there when her camera crew walked off earlier in the day, and she was really upset about it. It’s also clear that corners were being cut all over the place, and not just with the weaponry and union employees. It’s shocking that there were already several instances of gun discharges and mistakes/accidents with the weaponry, and it’s shocking that nothing was being done about it in real time, even if it was just “going to the armorer and telling her to do her job better.” It was an accident in the sense that no one was purposefully trying to hurt anyone. The negligence was arguably criminal though.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Getty.
For Hutchins’s family. For Alec. For the 24 year old armourer.
This will have long lasting effects for all.
One thing that really struck me when this first happened, I saw Alec’s name trending on Twitter and clicked on it fo see what it was about. There was so much glee from the trump/right that Alec had been involved in an accidental shooting. The lack of any kind of empathy for him and everyone else involved was truly awful. I have no doubt this will have a huge impact on Baldwin, but I really hope it has an impact on the industry too. There’s no reason for an accident like this to ever happen in 2021 when CGI is so prevalent now.
That’s because they are sick, sick people. I’m not even surprised by their behavior anymore. Of course they’d be happy about that and use it as an excuse to further their own selfish agenda.
Trumpers are the lowest of the low of society. They are mentally sick.
@Jess, to make it even worse, these cretins are SO disappointed that the victim’s husband does not blame Alec at all. They met (there’s a photo of them hugging😭) to speak, and the husband publicly stated that he does not blame Alec and believes that it was not his fault. I hope that gave Alec at least a small measure of peace. It was so graceful of her husband to meet with him and assure him that the family does not hold him responsible. And it’s certainly better for him and his son, instead of being full of seething rage going forward. (Seeing the photos of her little boy was rough, though.)
But it seems the MAGATs were hoping to have a sympathetic new icon who they could worship and trot out— one who was *especially* Baldwin-hating, and now those POS are actually angry at the husband (!!) for his handling of the situation. These people are absolutely disgusting.
There are no words. This is just so very sad.
It’s just a sad, messy story. Many lives changed forever in a split second.
That’s the worst: wishing if you could only press and Undo button and change that split second. 🙁
Those split-second life-changing events are brutal. Your life is forever divided into before and after.
It’s just terrible.
What I found so striking is that with this coming out, all sorts of other stories of actors/crew/stunt people being injured or killed from negligence on movie sets started coming out.
What makes this so different is this is an A-list celebrity who killed the cinematographer/director of photography and seriously injured the director. These aren’t names that will quickly fade from the news. Even if it comes out that he had no fault as either an actor or a producer, this is still going to follow Alec Baldwin for the rest of his life.
Hopefully, at the very least, some real changes in safety are going to be made. Changes were made after Brandon Lee’s death, but apparently that’s not enough. If nothing else, A-listers can see themselves in Alec Baldwin and insist on that they are never put into that position.
They say safety rules are written in blood. Damn shame that’s the way it is.
What a tragedy.
Does anyone know anything about guns? Especially what I’m going to assume are late 1800s styled ones? How come it was the second shot that had ammunition? I would guess that it would be fairly visible and a quick check would show that?
It is almost certainly a single action revolver, because that was what was often used in the West at the time. It is the iconic weapon of the Wild West.
Single action means you pull back the hammer, the cylinder (the part with the rounds) advances. Then you pull the trigger, and the gun fires once. Here’s the single action part: if you want to fire repeatedly, you have to pull back the hammer again each time, advancing the cylinder with a new round.
In history, you hear about the “fastest gun in the West”. That refers to both how quickly you can draw, but also how quickly you can pull back the hammer.
Pulling the hammer determines how fast you can shoot. Quickly pulling the hammer back repeatedly is called “fanning the hammer”.
As to why there was a live round in the second chamber, I don’t know. There literally should not have been even a single round on the set. Not one.
I said Friday that if the actors had been trained in gun safety, this wouldn’t have happened. I’m doubling down on that, because a blank looks very different from a round with a bullet.
The bullet is not the same as a round. The bullet is at the front of the round, the little pointy area on a piece of ammunition. Blanks don’t have bullets. They just have gun powder and wadding. Wadding is paper or cotton usually mixed with wax to seal the shell. So, empty she’ll (think of an empty glass). Then gun powder, then wadding to seal the shell instead of the missing bullet.
The hammer strikes the shell, the gun powder ignites, and the wadding or bullet is propelled forward and you see a muzzle flash.
If even one other trained person had looked at those chambered rounds, this would not have happened. Training is inexpensive. Lives are not.
I agree there should have been more training, but also the assistant director who handed Baldwin the firearm shouldn’t have designated it a “cold gun” without checking to make sure that was true. It seems that (s)he simply took the armorer’s word for it. With something so dangerous, there simply must be checks at each step of the process.
Is it realistic to have an actor trained in every detail of production?
If a seam splits, does one say, “well if every actor was trained in fabric construction this could have been avoided”.
They HAD an armorer/prop person on set, just as they have costumers etc.
IMO it’s slippery slope to make this about gun safety.
@Paige agree with you about slippery slope.
Thinking of the other high profile movie set fatal events, like the Twilight Zone and Midnight Rider movies, should the actors in those productions have been trained on helicopter and train operations? No, they rely on production professionals to do their jobs.
Paige, I’m not sure why the location being a movie set changes anything. Guns are designed to destroy whatever they cover (are aimed at). There is no scenario in which a gun should ever be pointed directly at another person. Being on a movie set doesn’t negate the very serious responsibility of gun usage.
It is possible to film a scene without pointing a gun directly at a living person. It is done all the time. This isn’t just about the armourer. This is about basic gun safety.
Don’t point a weapon at anything you aren’t planning to destroy. All guns are loaded all of the time.
Actors take training in doing stunts safely, using props safely, being rigged safely, etc. Guns, which are uniformly dangerous, don’t get training and safety is narrowed down to bring the sole responsibility of one person or a few people. That is a recipe for failure.
Looks like a nepotism hire gone wrong?
Yeah – I read that this was only her 2nd job as an armourer. There will be questions asked why someone inexperienced was allowed to be in the role of Head Armourer, esp given that the set had several other gun safety issues leading up to the accident.
I think she came cheap and that was a big factor. It sounds like she has little experience and her career is off to a bad start. I bet her salary was very low. And they also probably thought she’d be better because of her dad and they’d get a bargain.
I read an article that included interviews from the first film job she had as armorer which would have been the job she had just before this one and a lot of the quotes were like “I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I was ready, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but it went fine and it was really cool!” She also talked about how she instructs actors to sort of mimic the resistance you would get from shooting a live bullet—sort of a wrist flick thing that would show there was a lot of resistance and kick back—and I wonder if doing that could also end up with the bullet going somewhere totally off where it was supposed to go, so even if it wasn’t a down the barrel shot, maybe it ended up there on accident.
That was my first instinct, too. But then I thought back to being 24, when a lot of bad stuff went down on my watch because other people were *decidedly* not listening to me — in part because of my age. We don’t know who was working with her, if she were being ignored, if there were new non-union people on-set who’d been hired in a hurry, or what. The fact is, she’ll probably be blamed for this, when so many contributing factors were really systemic.
Pe the LA Times, she is the one who laid out the guns on the prop table for use. Which means she should have checked each gun before making it available.
I’m happy to hear more and more of the story now, because I just couldn’t understand how with all the safety protocols how this could happen.
I don’t know how Alec gets through this..
This poor family lost someone so love.
Such a devestating loss.
I hope many people who allowed this to happen on set are fired and I hope there are some criminal charges to face. Someone is responsible for this terrible accident and for once it’s not Alec.
The first AD, Dave Halls, was the final stop gap—the crucial, last safety check—who should have checked the gun before calling “cold gun” and handing it to Alec. Apparently, he has been sloppy on sets before, as has been the inexperienced armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who gave an 11-YEAR-OLD GIRL a hot gun on a prior shoot! This tragedy was inevitable, given all these conditions.
I saw a twitter thread (I think? I can’t remember, it’s been a long day) that focused on the first AD. It was someone who had worked for him before and said he was older, seemed to know what he was doing but was really lax on safety. They talked about the set getting more and more crowded, no proper fire exits because they were blocked, and lots of other safety issues. They weren’t surprised that this guy was involved. Oh, I remember! It’s an insta/tiktok account that the guy who runs it is a film editor. He thought there would be negligent homicide charges based on the people he talked to and the things that were brought up.
Why the hell is live ammo ever on a set? Given how advanced special effects are, it is needlessly dangerous.
@ Mac, that’s my question as well!! Why jeopardize the safety of everyone on a set, when there are opportunities for tragedy with regards to firearms? How could you maintain the utmost security , blanks or not, when a gun is involved?
It seems to me that there are much too many chances of tragedy with regards to having a gun, in any capacity, when safety is not the first and sole rule regarding the handling of firearms.
Regarding Baldwin, he is actually a supporter of gun laws and apparently this is tearing him up inside, that is probably why he is being so forthcoming with regards to speaking directly with the press.
I admit I hate guns. Never grew up with them, even growing up in Texas. But my parents weren’t hunters, they found their joys in traveling and the arts.
@BothSidesNow I don’t feel one iota of sympathy for Alec Baldwin. None. If it is tearing him up inside, good. There is a husband without a wife and a child without a mother, and he could have acted to prevent this.
He is one of the producers of this movie. Producers are bosses. Crew previously walking off the set, crew members being forced to drive an extra hour each way to spend the night in Albuquerque instead of Santa Fe to save money. Prior firearm discharges on set. Those are signs that safety was not a concern.
Bosses who treat their employees like trash and ignore even the most basic safety rules. (such as the rule that only the armourer and the actor are ever supposed to touch the weapon, and no one else) are inviting tragedy.
Alec Baldwin is a well-known actor and a producer on this film. He had the power to change things and didn’t.
Well, the buck didn’t have anywhere to stop! THAT is the problem — that there was no one to BE accountable to. At most Baldwin was the big name attached (“hey, it’s your call, I’m just the talent”), maybe some backing bucks in exchange for a producer credit. Sadly I don’t think he’s made of the kind of money this production needed to be safe.
I do feel bad for him! I do, because even though I cannot STAND him, I think he was trying to be a “good guy” on set, stay out of everyone’s way and not be a diva, be supportive, be everyone’s friend, be a “cool dad,” and yeah, he messed up, Bunny. Everyone messed up.
(Ok, I read on and saw the thread under Cora’s comment, and now I’m confused as to the extent of his liability here. Lord.)
I shudder to think what would happen if such negligence happened on movies of Quentin Tarantino or scenes with flying bullets.
OTOH it speaks volumes that it hasn’t happened on a Tarantino set. Or a thousand low budget sets. Clearly there are rigid and consistent protocols followed on even the most shoestring productions. This is not an oopsy. This is a epic error.
“Clearly there are rigid and consistent protocols followed on even the most shoestring productions.”
I think what’s coming out is the opposite – there are defined and established protocols for safety on set, but in the rush to create content, corners are frequently being cut, especially with low budget productions, and the safety and other issues on this set were to some extent representative of problems industry workers have seen more and more frequently. This AD has a particularly lousy reputation, and the armorer was inexperienced – but it sounds like it was only a matter of time until something like this happened somewhere.
Apparently two property masters declined to take a job on Rust because of various concerns and describe a “flippant” attitude of producers regarding protocols. As a producer, what was Baldwin’s involvement in the details of setting up this project?
I mean…! Tarantino is deeply remorseful for convincing Uma Thurman to do a stunt that nearly got her killed. I think he’s probably pretty good at judging what is and isn’t safely possible, but here he misjudged, and there were other times Thurman didn’t feel safe, either.
Tarantino gave her the original footage of the crash to share with others — it was a big story in 2018. Thurman is very clear on the fact that, not only was the incident never investigated, the producers of Kill Bill (vol 2) actually covered it all up. I bring this up because, in truth, a director probably shouldn’t be the last word in what’s safe enough to try. Someone else should have said, not this car, not this road.
A tragedy, but also an accident waiting to happen. More and more crew members are coming out to report the unsafe conditions, to talk about their experiences with the armorer’s lack of care on this and her previous job, and about the AD’s complete lack of care on this and many other jobs.
Seriously, that set sounds like it was a sh!tshow on a good day, and absolute chaos the day this happened. I still think it’s gross that every time the Sun references it, it’s in quotations, like, after he “accidentally shoots and kills cinematographer.” Alec has never been any sort of role model for good behavior, but ffs it’s not as if he decided to murder someone one day. The whole thing is awful.
Right?! She handed an eleven-year-old a hot gun on her last shoot! How she wasn’t immediately fired and never hired again is beyond my comprehension. But the same goes for the first AD, Dave Halls. This was his tragedy to prevent, and he utterly failed.
The companion article to the one @ThatsNotOkay posted above has interesting information by gun prop experts on what proper gun safety precautions on a film set should be. There’s multiple levels of protocol that should have prevented what happened here. Couple of details: 1) a live gun doesn’t necessarily mean live ammunition, could mean blanks, which can still be lethal at too close range – was anyone paying attention to where everyone was in relation to the gun?; and 2) two LA companies provide the modified prop guns for all US productions, and a truly live round should not have worked in any of those guns – so was a gun from elsewhere being used that wasn’t properly modified?
Everybody in the chain that led to this should forever be banned from making movies and that armor needs to be considered for negligent homicide. Clearly, she has done this before and learned nothing or she just did not give a damn. The second director should also be considered for the same charge
its a low budget movie and not alec’s job to think about the guns. he may be one of the producers but he is there to act too. the number of gleeful posters blaming him is sickening
Another female set member (not sure her position and not on Rust) has worked with the assistant director, Dave Halls, before and says he’s a nightmare. Yelling at people to work harder, faster. Not giving them time for full safety checks etc. (edit: windyrivers has a link below)
An interview with the armorer from how she felt on a previous job:
Alexi Hawley, The Rookie’s show runner, has banned live guns on set. They only use them for bigger, outdoor scenes but not at all now. They use cgi for muzzle flashes and Air Soft guns otherwise. They have a small BB gun type pellet. They’re both becoming more common despite the relatively good record since Brandon Lee’s death.
Eric Kripke had banned all ammunition from set as of, I think, Friday morning. He is a long time collaborator and friend Jensen Ackles and must have had the fear of God put in him before he found out it wasn’t him killed.
Per TMZ, there are multiple reports from the set that crew members had been using Alec’s gun recreationally for target practice and were using real bullets. This may be how a bullet got into Alec’s gun. Set sources are also saying bullets and blanks were being stored in the same place on set. If this is true, there was an astonishing amount of negligence taking place on this set. And while I feel very badly for Alec, and I truly do, as a producer on this film I don’t know how he escapes some liability here.
It depends on his level of production involvement. He could just be a name attached to get funding and distribution. Especially since he apparently co-wrote it and would obviously want to get it made. He’s listed as exec producer (a higher level of involvement) on other productions, mostly tv like Match Game. I think he’d have that title if he was more directly involved. It’s a separate production company running it. The production company for sure is in for some lawsuits.
On IMDB he’s listed as producer, not executive producer. And his own production company is involved, too. When Baldwin first announced this film, it was as his own project, along with the director.
After I left finance, I worked for a small production company for 5 years and in our low-butget films the producers were everywhere, dealing with everything. At the end of they day, the producers are the ones who have to make sure the project comes in on time and on budget, they negotiate with the unions, they hire the actors and crew, they answer to the investors, they’re breathing down everyone’s necks all the time. There’s no way one of the producers didn’t know there were problems on the set.
A problem is that there really isn’t a corporate entity to go to if you have a complaint. The producers of this film said they hadn’t received an “official complaint” but the “Rust LLC” corporation is just an accounting entity for the film itself, there’s no HR department, no process for making an official complaint. In a small crew like this, you’d just go to the AD or whichever higher-up you’re friends with.
Actually, in TV Exec Producer is higher level but in film Producer is the higher level. That’s why you win an Academy Award for best picture if you are a PRODUCER, never an Exec Producer. Those tend to be the money people or did development but weren’t as involved with the actual production. Now there can be levels of involvement but if it’s his production company and he’s a producer he will have to answer for a lot. As will the production manager, the AD, the props people, etc.
Agree. While I feel so bad for everyone involved in this tragic event, the reality is that liability will rest on the many people involved. Lawyers are probably already hired. Hope Hilaria feels ok about going back to work. This will be messy and expensive.
She’s radioactive – no one will hire her after her Spanish grift and refusal to apologize or even admit she is not Spanish. She’s a wackadoo and even more of a liability for Alec, IMO.
He’s going to need a lot of support and understanding. We’ll see if she’s capable of that.
Realistically, Alec is probably well protected. His production company will be the one to get sued. Nothing will come from his personal wealth. Unless a lot more comes out, he’ll end up being a sympathetic character in this.
Yeah, I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t see him facing criminal charges. Civil suits might be a different matter, but it won’t come out of his own pocket.
@Aud agree. Any production role Baldwin has would be through a LLC limited liability company. His personal wealth is not on the line. And the fact that the surviving family members of Hutchins have come out quickly with positive statements about Baldwin suggest to me that they feel he is not to blame. I would be surprised if he is not personally helping them financially already with funeral and other expenses. And not because he thinks he is civilly or criminally liable, but because he feels awful about what happened and has the means and desire to assist the family.
That’s even worse! My God! They were using props for fun and firing off live rounds?!! There should be many arrests….
Yeah, he’s in deep shit. Being the one who fired the round and with a producing credit.
Plus, when the camera crew walked off, the producers brought in scabs to replace them. That’s a mega sin in Hollywood for starters.
And this armorer was not a member of the AEAA or operating under the AMPTP weapon guidelines and basically an “apprentice” status to her father. As mentioned this was only her 2nd ever job and she expressed she didn’t know “if she could handle it”.
Running afoul of so many film bodies really speaks to how the producers were running the production, thumbing their noses at all this means they’re all in for a world of trouble legally. This is exactly why every specialty has a professional guild or group and everybody operates under all the union’s guidelines.
I agree, obviously this is horrible for Baldwin and I’m sure he didn’t mean to do it but as a producer surely he has some level of responsibility? Especially as he was there on set and presumably KNEW of some of the concerns that were being raised? It’s not like he was off in some office in LA and just providing financing.
Also, we all know what a rage monster Alec is reported to be. Anyone want to bet that when these concerns were raised previously he raged at whoever was raising them and said “get back to work”? Again, I doubt he fired this gun in a fit of rage but I totally believe a fit of rage from him could have resulted in protocols being ignored for the sake of keeping things moving.
I concur with Cate.
Cate, I’ve actually been speculating the opposite. I think, precisely because of his diva/meanie reputation, he kept mum and deferred to the director in an effort to seem easygoing and mellow. Which means there was effectively no “adult” on set to contradict the director/AD.
Who allowed bullets on set? There is never a reason for an actual bullet to be on set for any reason.
The AD was the subject of complaints by crew members on previous sets regarding safety protocols, weapons, and other issues. The same problems seem to have followed him to the Rust set, and along with other contributing factors, this is the awful, tragic result.
I read a fascinating thread by a gun prop manager who said that so many things would have to go wrong for this to happen—they plan for actors’ mistakes, among hundreds of other safety systems and backup systems. Really so devastating.
PM is in BIIIG trouble. Not holding safety meetings = so many violations of protocol. Wonder if they were being pressured re money/time but a good PM would refuse to cut corners in gun safety.
Also side eying armourer and no, I wouldn’t trust a 24 year old to make sure guns were safe. But I guess we do that every day with the military. Which seems pretty crazy.
Not crazy. Because every military person allowed to handle a weapon has had training, been certified, and is required to get recertified on a regular schedule.
The Daily Beast has a story about the crew of the head armorer‘s previous movie raising hell because of her unsafe practices.
I don’t understand how bullets are even present on a movie set. This is such a tragedy.
I heard that AD took the gun without asking Hannah Gutierrez Reed. Other commenters have noted that he has a reputation for helping create awful sets due to his terrible attitude.
Given that unionised workers walked out six hours prior this clearly wasn’t a set where people were given support to perform their job safely. Unless concrete evidence comes out that she’s at fault I think it’s unfair to assign responsibility to her (or Alec Baldwin for that matter). I can’t imagine how awful the situation must be for her, Alec and Halyna’s loved ones.
The fault lies with upper management who place relentless pressure on creatives to perform to the best of their ability with no regard for anyone’s well being, safety or mental health. They cared more about maximising profit by cutting corners than they did about the safety of their workers. This article breaks why the IATSE are threatening to strike and helps contextualise why the industry can be so dangerous.
I’ve heard horror stories about toxic sets from a friend who worked in the fashion. This situation reminds of how KJ Apa was in a car accident because he was overtired from working long hours on the Riverdale. I think unsafe sets are more common then we realise because it’s rarely publicly reported on. Hopefully the AMPTP will finally listen to the IASTE and agree to a contract that actually protects & supports people working in the industry.
I don’t want to assign blame to anyone at this point, but she had already done some sloppy work. Someone upthread posted about her handing a hot gun to an 11 year old actor on her last movie.
Alec Baldwin IS the “upper management” though, he’s the producer.
And the courts made it very clear in the prosecution related to the Randall Miller case, given that a film set operates were everyone is entrusted to handle their own specialty independent of constant supervision (it’s called a collaborative medium for a reason), the armorer’s mistakes make her criminally liable.
There’s no concrete evidence needed. Her job was the secure handling of the firearms. It was failed. That’s the evidence and her responsibility for it will make it likely she’ll face charges.
Again if the local prosecutor takes a page from the book of the successful “Midnight Rider” prosecutions I expect Alec and any other on-set producers, the AD, and the armorer will face charges of some sort.
I didn’t realise Alex was a producer and you’re right, he’s upper management.
I guess I’m just reserving judgement on the armourer. I can see why she’s partially at fault. But I’ve also seen issues with workplace safety where upper management use an employee as a scapegoat to evade responsibility. So I don’t feel comfortable deciding on her level of responsibility without knowing more.
I just really hope that AMPTP come to their senses, listen to what IASTE members say are required to improve workplace safety and actually agree to the contract changes proposed by IASTE.
This is a super extreme example of what can happen on sets that are poorly managed. It must have already been so chaotic for union workers to walk out. (I work at a union and walk out is considered a ‘hard’ action. A soft action might be wearing stickers with a protest slogan.) So the whole situation was already cooked before it escalated to Halyna’s death. It’s a tragedy that highlights why the IASTE have been pushing so hard for changes in contracts.
I see what you’re saying, but it’s negligent to have live ammunition on set and loaded into any guns. Live ammunition should be heavily guarded and carefully accounted for after any shoot where it is used. Although I honestly see no reason for live ammo to be on set at all.
Her job was to know what was going on with every gun on set and she failed to account for live ammunition. That’s negligence.
I’m curious about the IATSE strike. It was barely avoided last Sunday but will this affect the negotiations?
They reached a tentative agreement but negotiations will be ongoing in New Mexico and a few other states. I think if anything it will give credence to New Mexico’s union demands for more pay, better hours and safer environments, and the agreement will be ratified. Unfortunately it took a tragic and needless death to get there.
I don’t understand why there was live ammunition on the set. Why don’t they just have blanks?
My thought exactly.
Apparently some of the crew were using real bullets in the guns for target practice — the guns with live ammo got mixed in with the guns with blanks. That’s what happens when you have non-professionals doing the job of professionals. It’s all fun and games until someone dies.
This is what happens when guns are treated as a fun pastime instead of a deadly weapon, people lose their perspective on how dangerous they actually are.
Also, from what I understand, blanks are considered “live ammunition.” The terminology surrounding guns on set is very confusing.
That’s because anything fired from a gun is potentially lethal, including blanks. A “bullet” is just the pointy tip, but there’s a lot of extra stuff in the actual casing to help make the movement happen — think of how the bottom two-thirds fall away from a rocket as it launches. I’m not an expert, but as I understand it, a blank is JUST all that “extra stuff,” and if you get hit by it at close-enough range, you can die — as people have.
This is going to get so messy. I feel like everyone involved will start throwing each other under the bus. It seems like the whole production was a mess and the fact crew were walking out due to safety concerns says it all. It all begins at the top, if those in charge were cutting corners to save money this probably wouldn’t have happened.
This is why you shut down sets when the union leaves.
Every person in power who ignored the walk out is responsible for this death.
Every person in power, and producer and directors are included, is responsible for the health and safety of the members. If an armourer isn’t doing their job, it’s the management that is required to ensure they do it right or are removed.
I’ve been following the IASTE negotiations closely (especially after they threatened to go on a nation wide strike). And this tragedy shows why they’ve been fighting so hard for better contracts.
Systematic changes are required to improve working conditions so this never happens again.
It sounds like upper management was prioritising money over workplace safety in an attempt to maximise profits. Which inevitably leads to a dysfunctional workplace environment where workers are being pressured to ignore their own safety for the sake of appeasing their managers.
Absolutely. I just know that Baldwin and the producers are going to PR spin all of the responsibility on the armorer who they never should have hired.
The PR machine has been hard at work since the incident occurred. Lots of spinning plates going on right now.
Somehow I don’t think people who want to are going to be able to spin their way out of this. Too many people know too much. And that’s, sadly, a good thing in this terrible situation.
@Mary, what do you mean by that? Do you have any links/examples? I wasn’t online much today, only here on CB, and haven’t been following it as closely— so I’m totally out of the loop, since so many more details have been coming out so quickly.
So much truth. I texted someone yesterday who is retired from union work (i.e. worked for a union). This is not someone who follows celeb gossip, but damn straight they’re following this story.
@BettyRose I work at a union which why I’ve been following the IASTE negotiations. (I can’t remember if that’s been reported here I learnt about it through Evan Rachel Woods insta).
This one of the rare instances where my job and my interest in celebrities intersect.
I really hope this tragedy leads to better working conditions in the industry and more people realising they need to join the IASTE to stay safe at work.
An interesting side note, Michael Hutchins, her husband, is an attorney whose law firm has represented the Clinton Foundation.
I remember when the Brandon Lee incident occurred, but I was in college, so definitely old enough for it to be memorable. Meanwhile, the internet is full of people not old enough to remember it but who are still aware of it and referencing it in relation to this incident. Point being, this story ain’t fading away. Every facet will be scrutinized, if not by authorities by the media and by internet sleuths. And we will speak of this incident decades from now. One way or another, the full truth with out.
Gutierrez Reed the armorer and Halls the assistant director are emerging as the individuals most industry insiders are pointing blame towards. That is not to say the production entity won’t face liability but first there will be a determination of whose direct acts or omissions led to the chain of events where a live round was in that gun. The reporting about people associated with the production target shooting live rounds with the gun is disturbing. Checking the gun and clearing it as necessary would be the armorers job. Preventing people from effing around with the guns at all would be her job too.
Halyna’s husband and father have made positive statements about Baldwin.
Apart from possible criminal charges in the realm of manslaughter, negligent homicide, etc and the civil wrongful death claims, this is also a workplace death and OSHA is involved, although their penalties are not generally huge.
And of course because Baldwin is a progressive and a trump impressionist the rancid dregs of Republican elected representatives are making ‘jokes’ about this tragedy.
If there was more reason to despise them and their execrable behaviour. It doesn’t surprise me, nor does it grow them more fans. They are a heinous bubble of gleeful bullying and all I can hope is that all that toxicity starts to grow beyond their control and consumes them whole.
The more I read about what was going on, the more horrified I am. This is just so sad. I hope they don’t pin this all on the AD and armorer. Everyone in a management position on this film is responsible.
The more that is revealed, the more clear the picture becomes and exposes the precariousness and danger of film sets. I was talking to someone about this yesterday, and in my mind, imagining how this could have happened, it plays like a horror movie. The kind that starts off with the tragedy right away then cuts to a caption that says “earlier that day” or “12 hours earlier” and then proceeds to tell this anxiety-inducing slow-motion inevitable car-wreck of a story.
I can see that bullet/ammunition. Sinisterly sitting innocently on a shelf. And then its journey begins, passing through hands, through sloppy handling, lack of protocols, inexperienced crew, maybe some joke is being played and its part of the prank, all the while our horror grows because we know what is going to happen and there is no way for us to stop it. Right to the moment that loaded gun is handed to the person who will pull the trigger. You want to shout STOP or NO! You wish you could, but that’s not how these horror stories go.
This is the result of a string of events that individually should not have resulted in the death of an innocent person, but threaded together, they became an unstoppable force. And yet on the same hand, this tragedy could have been averted if only ONE of those actions was interfered with, diverted, caught before the damage could be done. What ifs do nothing though, they don’t minimize the sadness.
You would think that any onset accident, especially those that killed someone, would have truly made this kind of mistake impossible, that so many precautions should be in place and the penalty of not following these rules so severe, no one would risk taking a short cut… well we know that it is clearly not true, and until the industry cleans up its act and real consequences start being meted out, it will keep happening. This is a tragic accident, but it looks like it was completely preventable. Serious consequences are required here.
It’s hard to not start thinking of wild conspiracy theories when you hear it may have been a live round, that makes no logical fkng sense, and the gun passed through so many hands who missed this, how?!!
I honestly can’t believe we don’t have more accidents.
I feel so badly for him. Such a tragic accident
Can’t help but think of Brandon Lee’s untimely death. How or why the industry doesn’t insist on safer safety procedures.
There are a ton of safety procedures for this. A whole handbook and strict guidelines. In the over 25 years since Lee’s death, we haven’t heard about this scenario happening again until now. This production was a sh*tshow.