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Alec Baldwin’s ‘Rust’ fined by New Mexico for willful gun safety failures

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Rust Movie Productions LLC, the production company behind Alec Baldwin’s ill-fated Western, was issued the maximum possible fine against a film production company for firearms safety failures on the set where a cinematographer was fatally shot by the actor.On Wednesday, New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau announced that Rust Movie Productions must pay $139,793, the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by state law.It distributed a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on the set before the fatal shooting. The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.”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,” Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, told The Associated Press.ALEC BALDWIN’S ATTEMPT TO DISMISS DEFAMATION LAWSUIT SLAMMED BY FAMILY OF FALLEN US MARINE
Alec Baldwin, the producer and star of “Rust,” said he was pointing the gun at Halyna Hutchins at her instruction on the New Mexico set when it went off without his pulling the trigger.
(Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images for National Geographic)At a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on Oct. 21, 2021, Baldwin was pointing a gun at cinematographer Halyna Hutchins inside a small church during setup for the filming of a scene when it went off, killing the 42-year-old mother of one and wounding film director Joel Souza.In a December interview with ABC News, Baldwin, 64, Baldwin said he was pointing the gun at Hutchins at her instruction on the New Mexico set of the film when it went off without his pulling the trigger.The new occupational safety report confirmed that a large-caliber revolver was handed to Baldwin by an assistant director, David Halls, without consulting with on-set weapons specialists during or after the gun was loaded.Regulators noted that Halls also served as safety coordinator. They said he was present and witnessed two accidental discharges of rifles on set, and that he and other managers who knew of the misfires took no investigative, corrective or disciplinary action. Crew members expressed surprise and discomfort.CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER
Halyna Hutchins was a rising star in the cinematography world when she was hit with a projectile on set that ultimately killed her.
(Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie)”The Safety Coordinator was present on set and took no direct action to address safety concerns,” the report stated. “Management was provided with multiple opportunities to take corrective actions and chose not to do so. As a result of these failures, Director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were severely injured. Halyna Hutchins succumbed to her injuries.”A spokesman for Rust Movie Productions did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An attorney for Baldwin was not immediately available.James Kenney, secretary of the Environment Department that oversees occupational safety, said the agency dedicated 1,500 staff hours to its investigation, examined hundreds of documents and conducted at least a dozen interviews with cast and crew members.Investigators found production managers placed tight limits on resources for a small team that controlled weapons on set and failed to address concerns about a shotgun left unattended twice.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
An aerial view of the film set on Bonanza Creek Ranch, where Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
(Reuters)Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the daughter of a sharpshooter and consultant to film productions, was limited to eight paid days to oversee weapons and training and was assigned otherwise to lighter duties as a props assistant. As her time as an armorer ran out, Gutierrez Reed warned a manager and was rebuffed.”After OSHA’s very comprehensive safety investigation involving numerous interviews and review of over 1, it has concluded that production willfully failed to follow national gun safety standards, which caused this tragedy,” read a statement sent to Fox News Digital from Gutierrez Reed’s attorney. “OSHA found that Hannah Gutierrez Reed was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns. Critically, OSHA also determined that production failed to call Hannah in to perform her armorer duties and inspect the firearm right before its use in the impromptu scene with Baldwin.””As we have stated before, had anyone from Production called Hannah in back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented,” the statement continued. “Hannah has also reached out to OSHA recently in an effort to provide her suggestions for changes and improvement of safety standards on sets to avoid a tragic incident in the future.”Safety investigators also note that the production company did not develop a process to ensure live rounds of ammunition were not brought on set, in violation of industry safety protocols. Safety meetings were conducted, but not every day weapons were used, as required.
Halyna Hutchins is survived by her husband Matthew and their son.
(Hutchins’ lawyer Brian Panish)Kenney said the separate investigations into possible criminal charges are still underway. He noted that his agency received no direct safety complaints from cast or crew before the fatal shooting, even though anonymity is offered.”This tragedy, this loss of life, it could have been prevented, and we want people to say something,” he said.Kenney was appointed in 2019 by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a staunch advocate for the film industry who increased a state cap in industry incentives shortly after taking office.New Mexico competes with non-Hollywood production sites in states such as Georgia, Louisiana and New York. Film productions have flocked to New Mexico in recent years to seize on its diverse outdoor scenery, moderate costs and generous state incentives, including a rebate of between 25% and 35% of in-state spending for video production that helps filmmakers large and small underwrite their work. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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