New Mexico fined a movie production company responsible for the “Rust” set the maximum amount possible for safety violations regarding firearms on Wednesday.
Filming of the movie “Rust” stopped after a fatal incident on October 21, 2021, resulted in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding of one other. Actor Alec Baldwin was pointing a prop firearm at Hutchins when the gun went off, striking Hutchins and director Joel Souza.
New Mexico workplace safety regulators fined Rust Movie Productions $136,793 as well as issued a “scathing” review of the production company’s safety practices, according to the Associated Press.
“What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards,” New Mexico Occupational Safety and Health Administration Chief Bob Genoway told the AP.
In a March court filing, Baldwin’s attorney Luke Nikas denied that Baldwin shouldered any responsibility for the incident. Hutchins’ family has filed a lawsuit against Baldwin over the cinematographer’s death.
“At this point, two things are clear: someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” Nikas wrote.
“Baldwin is an actor,” he added. “He didn’t announce that the gun was ‘cold’ when it really contained a live round; he didn’t load the gun; he didn’t check the bullets in the gun; he didn’t purchase the bullets; he didn’t make the bullets and represent that they were dummies; he wasn’t in charge of firearm safety on the set; he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets or checked the gun; and he played no role in managing the movie’s props.”
“Each of those jobs was performed by someone else,” the filing continued.
“This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences,” Nikas said. “That person is not Alec Baldwin.”
Hutchins family attorney Brian Panish said in February that Balwin is in “complete denial” over the shooting.
“He’s not accepting any responsibility,” Panish said, adding that Baldwin “refused any gun safety training, number one.”
“Number two, he pointed a gun at someone on a set,” the lawyer continued. “You don’t do that without plexiglass and other precautions. Number three, why were there bullets in the gun to begin with whether they were fake or real? It was only a lineup. There was no intention for him to shoot the weapon. He wasn’t supposed to shoot the weapon. Nobody expected him to do that, yet he recklessly fired the weapon while pointing it at three people, killed one and injured another.”