Update, February 15 at 4:08 p.m. ET:
Lawyers for Alec Baldwin and fellow “Rust” producers stated that “any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false” in response to the new lawsuit filed by Halyna Hutchins’ family.
“Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy,” Baldwin and ‘Rust’ attorney Aaron Dyer, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman said, via Deadline. “We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the ‘Rust’ set in the first place.”
The statement continued, “He (Baldwin), Halyna, and the rest of the crew relied on the statement by the two professionals responsible for checking the gun that it was a ‘cold gun’ – meaning there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise. This protocol has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone,” concluded team Rust‘s remarks, “Actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to use.”
The family of “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins filed a lawsuit on February 15 against Alec Baldwin, seven other producers, armorers Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Seth Kenney, and various crew members.
The wrongful death lawsuit comes four months after Hutchins was shot and killed on October 21 while on set for the Western at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. Actor Baldwin was holding the gun when it fired, but he has stated he did not pull the trigger. Hutchins was shot through the torso, and a bullet was lodged in the shoulder of director Joel Souza.
The lawsuit claims “reckless behavior and cost-cutting” led to Hutchins’ death. The cinematographer is survived by her husband, Matthew Hutchins, and their nine-year-old son.
The suit names actor-producer Baldwin, producers Ryan Smith, Allen Cheney, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Anjul Nigam, Matthew DelPiano, and Emily Salveson, and crew members Sarah Zachry, Dave Halls, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, Gabrielle Pickle, Seth Kenney, and others as defendants.
Per reports, the lawsuit alleges the “Rust” production “disregarded at least 15 Industry Standards” of on-set safety.
Three other “Rust” crew members have already filed lawsuits, including script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, gaffer Serge Svetnoy, and key medic Cherlyn Schaefer. Armorer Reed Gutierrez also separately sued mentor Kenney, who supplied ammunition to the set, alleging that he mixed live and dummy ammunition.
Search warrants have revealed that Reed Gutierrez loaded the Colt .45 gun with what she believed were dummy rounds. She then gave the gun to Halls, the first assistant director, who announced that it was a “cold gun,” while handing it to Baldwin, per Variety.
The production had a liability policy with a limit of $6 million.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office has yet to charge anyone in Hutchins’ death. The investigation is still ongoing.
Baldwin made an appearance on ABC News on December 2 to discuss the events that led to Hutchins’ death.
“I feel that, that someone is responsible for what happened and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me,” Baldwin said at the time. “I did not observe any safety or security issues at all in the time I was there.”
Baldwin later said in a video obtained and distributed by TMZ, “I’m not an expert in this field. So whatever other people decide is the best way to go, in terms of protecting people’s safety on film sets, I’m all in favor of and I will cooperate with that in any way that I can.”
Hutchins’ husband Matthew requested donations be made to the scholarship fund set up by the AFI Conservatory in Hutchins’ memory. The fund was established to support female cinematographers. “Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words,” Matthew wrote. “Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family’s privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life.”
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