Rust crew members ‘expressed safety issues’ before Alec Baldwin’s prop gun killed Halyna Hutchins

Hutchins died after Alec Baldwin ‘discharged’ weapon in ‘tragic accident’

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 23 October 2021 20:31
Alec Baldwin fires prop gun on movie set, killing cinematographer

Camera crew members walked off the set of Rust due to “safety concerns” a day before Alec Baldwin’s prop gun killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, it has been claimed.

An anonymous crew member told ABC News that he was one of a large group to send in their resignations, adding that they were present the morning of the shooting (Thursday 21 October) as they were collecting their equipment.

They said that concerns over gun safety had been raised ahead of the fatal accident, as well as worries over the handling of Covid-19 regulations, but claimed these were all “brushed off repeatedly” by the film’s producers.

According to the crew member, there had been two previous accidental discharges of a prop gun aead of Ms Hutchins’ death.

“You can only threaten to leave so much, and if they don’t change anything, you just have to leave,” they said.

It was also reported that Hutchins planned to strike over dangerous working conditions before her death.

Ms Hutchins posted a photo to her Instagram account on Tuesday (20 October) with the cast and crew of the movie, including Mr Baldwin, showing her support for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) labour union.

Halyna Hutchins was killed in a prop gun accident on the set of ‘Rust’

The union, which represents Hollywood crew and artists, including cinematographers, editors, and hairstylists, called off a major walkout last weekend after it struck a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) at the last minute.

The union announced a new three-year contract that addresses IATSE’s calls for better working hours, safer workplace conditions and improved benefits.

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“Everything achieved was because you, the members, stood up and gave us the power to change the course of these negotiations,” IATSE’s leadership wrote in a memo to union members on Saturday (17 October).

The movie Rust was being filmed at the Bonanza Creek ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Filming has been temporarily suspended.

Ms Hutchins, 42, was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter where she was pronounced dead. Director Joel Souza was also shot in the incident that is currently being investigated by police.

Alec Baldwin ‘discharged’ the weapon that killed Halyna Hutchins in what has been described as a ‘tragic accident’

Mr Baldwin, who was told the weapon was safe, released a statement on Friday (22 October) to say he was “heart broken”, adding: “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.”

He called the incident a “tragic accident”. No charges have been filed.

Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, with whom she had one son, said that Mr Baldwin has been “very supportive” in the wake of her death.

The incident has caused a widespread debate on the use of firearms on film sets and whether they should be permanently replaced with rubber and airsoft guns instead. Hollywood stars, including Rian Johnson, are stating that gunshot effects should be added in post-production.

The Independent has contacted the film’s production company for comment.

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