Following Wednesday’s New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s investigation of the Rust movie production, where star and producer Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on set, Baldwin has responded via his attorney, saying that he’s “exonerated” by the bureau’s findings.
“We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter. We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds,” Baldwin posted on his Instagram.
“Additionally, the report recognises that Mr. Baldwin’s authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting. Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico officials have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
The OSHB found that the Rust production company had not developed any process to make sure live rounds were not present on the movie set – a clear violation of industry safety standards. Rust Movie Productions was fined US$136,793 (approx. $185,709.49) for the safety violations, which is the maximum possible amount.
Assistant director David Halls, who also served as safety coordinator on Rust, had given a large-calibre revolver to Baldwin without consulting on-set weapons specialists, either during or after the gun was loaded.
“Management was provided with multiple opportunities to take corrective actions and chose not to do so. As a result of these failures, director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were severely injured. Halyna Hutchins succumbed to her injuries,” the OSHB report said.
The bureau also heard testimonies that production managers took little or no action after two previous misfires on set before Baldwin’s accidental shooting of Hutchins, and there were documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unaddressed. Weapons experts were not allowed to make decisions about extra safety training, OSHB found.
A lawyer for Rust armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said in a statement Wednesday that “OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns. Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armourer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin.”
Baldwin, seven producers and other Rust crew members, including Gutierrez Reed, still face a wrongful death lawsuit from Hutchins’ family, alleging that reckless behaviour and cost-cutting led to her death.
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