'Rust' Production Company Fined for 'Willful & Serious' Safety Violations

One of many Rust shooting investigations has been completed and the production company responsible for the movie is being fined for "willful and serious" safety violations. According to Deadline, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau is fining Rust Movie Productions LLC $136,793 for safety-related infractions which led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza being wounded was also a factor in the determination.

"There were serious management failures," said James Kenney, the New Mexico Environmental Cabinet Secretary, in a video statement, "and more than sufficient evidence to suggest that if standard industry practices were followed, the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutching and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have occurred. ... This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe." The report also stated that Rust Movie Productions LLC's management "knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed on set and demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety by failing to review work practices and take corrective action."

Hutchins was killed on the set of Rust on Oct. 21, after a prop gun that actor Alec Baldwin was holding discharged. The gun was initially not believed to be loaded with live rounds. Following the incident, Baldwin released a statement on Twitter, and later he spoke to a group of photographers who were inquiring about the incident. "A woman died," he told the group, per Deadline. "She was my friend. She was my friend. The day I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting, I took her to dinner with Joel, the director. We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened."

It was later announced that Baldwin is being sued by Hutchins' family over the Rust set shooting which claimed her life. According to TMZ, lawyers for Hutchins' husband and son filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and others from the film's crew claiming Baldwin intentionally pulled the gun from its holster and pointed it in Hutchins' direction. "He released the revolver's hammer, and -- BAM -- defendant Baldwin fired the revolver," the suit reads.


In addition to Baldwin, other defendants in the suit include Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director, David Halls. The suit also names multiple production companies, as well as the company that provided the ammunition. In the lawsuit, Hutchins' family claims that cost-cutting methods — including hiring inexperienced armorers and requiring the armorer to also handle the duties of assistant props master — led to "super unsafe" conditions, as alleged by a camera operator who made safety complaints just days before Hutchins' death.