A group of camera crew workers walked off the set of the western “Rust” to protest working conditions hours before Alec Baldwin, who is starring in and producing the western, fatally shot one crew member.
Baldwin shot and killed director of photography Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on Thursday in an apparent accident involving a prop gun, according to authorities. For days prior, tensions had been building on the set of the film over crew concerns about unsafe working conditions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Six members of the camera crew walked off the set Thursday morning after days of complaining about long hours and low pay. Members of the crew were driving to the set at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, every morning from Albuquerque, a roughly 50-mile trip, despite being promised hotel rooms in Santa Fe. Hutchins was advocating for safer working conditions for the crew, one source told the Times.
At one point, a group of nonunion workers showed up to replace the camera crew, who were members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” one person with knowledge of the situation told the Times. They also added that the prop gun that Baldwin killed Hutchins with had already misfired several times during shooting.
“There was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set,” the person said.
Baldwin said in a statement on Friday that he was working with authorities investigating the incident and offered his condolences to Hutchins’ family.
“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,” Baldwin said in a pair of tweets sent out from the account of his nonprofit, the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office released a statement on Thursday after the apparent accident, saying that the investigation is ongoing and that no charges had been filed. The statement said:
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set of the western “Rust,” October 21, 2021, when an 911 caller reported a shooting on the set.
The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, , producer and actor.
Ms. Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico Hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr. Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.
This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.