'The View': Joy Behar Questions Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Shooting Charges

Joy Behar stirred a serious controversy on Friday's episode of The View when she speculated that there might be political motives behind the new criminal charges against Alec Baldwin. Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the western Rust in 2021 which turned out to be loaded with a real bullet, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. New charges against Baldwin were announced on Thursday, but Behar was wary of them.

On Thursday, Santa Fe district attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced that Baldwin and Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will each be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The panel on The View discussed these charges on Friday morning, and Behar started by questioning why Baldwin was charged while four other producers on the movie were not. She argued that as a star and producer, Baldwin had "creative involvement" but "not exactly the job of somebody who would have to check the gun."

"As a person who's been in a couple of movies, all you're thinking about is your part when you're an actor," she said. "So I don't really understand what this is about."

Behar did have some theories, however. Later in the discussion, she said: "You know, the DA who is indicting him, or whatever the legal term is right now, she's a big Republican. I'm only saying this because Alec Baldwin is a target for Republicans. They cannot stand him. OK? Just saying. I'm not saying anything more than that."

After the next commercial break, Behar corrected her phrasing, saying that the special prosecutor appointed to this case is a Republican, not Carmack-Altwies. Still, her point did not change. Behar was likely referencing the fact that Baldwin played the parody version of then-President Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live for several years, often criticizing him and other Republican leaders. In that time, some Republican leaders have publicly criticized Baldwin – sometimes for his performance as Trump and sometimes for other reasons.

While the four producers Behar mentioned will not be charged in this case, the movie's assistant director David Halls reportedly signed a plea deal for related charges against him. Halls pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, for which he was given a suspended sentence and six months of probation, according to a report by The Wrap. He is also expected to testify in the trial against Baldwin.

Behar's co-hosts generally disagreed with her take on this case. The View airs on weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on ABC. It's not clear yet when Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed are expected in court.