An attorney for the family of Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins said this week that SAG-AFTRA’s defense of Alec Baldwin amid new potential charges flies “in the face of common sense and the law.”
Baldwin was indicted in the fatal shooting of Hutchins earlier this month, after a grand jury presented with a new investigation recommended charges. He had previously been charged with involuntary manslaughter in January 2023, before the charges were dropped in April 2023 upon discovery of new evidence that demanded investigation. New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said on CNN last week that the new indictment comes on the basis that Baldwin, as a producer, had a duty to “make sure that the set was safe,” and that as an actor, “he should have checked that gun, checked those projectiles.”
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Following news of the new charges, SAG-AFTRA called the comments “wrong and uninformed.”
“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert,” the union’s statement read. “Firearms are provided for their use under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm.” The union also argued that it is an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe working environment.
“The notion that an actor is not responsible if that actor holds a gun, points it at someone on a movie set, and discharges the weapon flies in the face of common sense and the law,” Gloria Allred an attorney for Hutchins’ family, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Safety protocols may be considered at trial, but they are not the law. This indictment was the result of a careful assessment by the grand jury of all the facts and the law.”
The Rust shooting occurred on Oct. 21, 2021, when an old-fashioned revolver held by Baldwin fired while he was practicing drawing the prop firearm. Though assistant director David Halls told Baldwin the weapon did not contain live ammunition, the gun discharged in the direction of Hutchins, who was killed, and director Joel Souza, who was injured. Five live rounds were found on set following the shooting. It remains unknown how they ended up on the set.
Allred’s statement this week continued, “It is important to respect the grand jury’s decision to indict, and to allow the criminal justice system to proceed to trial where the case will be decided on its merits.” She added that “we look forward to the jury having the opportunity at trial to decide who should be held accountable for Halyna’s untimely death.”
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