The “Rust” production company has been fined $136,793 dollars for “willful and serious” safety violations.
According to Deadline, the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau issued the citation after the Bureau’s six-month-long investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on October 21.
The production company was issued a “willful-serious citation” with a $136,793 civil penalty, which is “the highest level of citation and maximum fine allowable by state law in New Mexico,” according to the Bureau, which went on to say, “Rust Movie Productions, LLC was cited for the plain indifference to the recognized hazards associated with the use of firearms on set that resulted in a fatality, severe injury, and unsafe working conditions.”
Hutchins’ Family Responds To ‘Rust’ Fine
The attorney for the Hutchins’ family, Brian Panish, told TMZ, “We are pleased that the NM OSHA report has shed some light on the workplace safety issues that plagued Rust and led to the tragic and fatal events of Oct 21, 2021. Our own investigation has found overwhelming evidence of recklessness and negligence on the part of the Rust production team and others.”
In an interview on February 24, Matt Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’ husband, told Today’s Hoda Kotb, “The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me. Watching him I just felt so angry.”
He added, “I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her.”
‘Rust’ Armorer Issues A Statement Through Her Lawyer
“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed issued a statement through her lawyer, Jason Bowles, which was also conveyed to TMZ. Bowles said, “OSHA found that she was not provided adequate time or resources to conduct her job effectively, despite her voiced concerns.”
Bowles continued, “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 back into the church before the scene to consult with her, this tragedy would have been prevented.”
“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,” he added.
Reed has previously claimed that she was never asked to inspect the gun that actor Alec Baldwin was holding during the rehearsal scene in the church.
‘Rust’ Armorer Claims She Was Not Asked To Inspect Gun In Fatal Shooting
In a statement first reported by CNN, “Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed responded to a legal filing in which Baldwin said that Reed told him to prime the revolver.
“My. Baldwin knew that he could never point a firearm at crew members under any circumstances and had a duty of safety to his fellow crew members,” she claimed. “Yet he did point the gun at Halyna before the fatal incident against all rules and common sense.”
The filing said that Baldwin and other “Rust” producers “had a duty and responsibility to call Hannah in for inspection of the gun and safety instruction before any gun scene was conducted.” However, the court documents state that “Hannah was not called into the Church before the impromptu gun scene rehearsal and she should have been.”
Reed claims that she did not know what was happening inside the church set on the day of the shooting.
‘Rust’ Armorer Alleges She Faced ‘Constant Resistance’ For Gun Safety Training
According to CNN, Reed claimed that she faced “constant resistance” from Baldwin and other “Rust” producers when it came to gun safety training.
“Hannah emphasized the importance of training Mr. Baldwin in the cross draw, which is dangerous,” the statement read. “He never accepted the offer and Hannah was not able to conduct that training as well as other training she wanted to do, because of budgeting and being overruled by production.”
However, Baldwin has previosuly claimed that Reed told him not to double-check that the revolver had no live bullets in it, saying, “It was her job to check the gun – not his.” In legal papers filed on Friday, Baldwin’s legal team insisted that “An actor cannot rule that a gun is safe. That is the responsibility of other people on the set.”
“At this point, two things are clear: someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” the statement began.
“Baldwin is an actor,” they continued. “He didn’t announce that the gun was ‘cold’ when it really contained a live round; he didn’t load the gun; he didn’t check the bullets in the gun; he didn’t purchase the bullets; he didn’t make the bullets and represent that they were dummies; he wasn’t in charge of firearm safety on the set; he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets or checked the gun; and he played no role in managing the movie’s props. Each of those jobs was performed by someone else.”