A legal representative for Halyna Hutchins’ family, the late cinematographer of the film Rust, has criticized the stance of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) in their defense of actor Alec Baldwin. This follows news of possible new charges against Baldwin pertaining to the fatal shooting of Hutchins which occurred on the movie set in October 2021.
Indictment of Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin, who also served as a producer on Rust, had been previously indicted for involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. This indictment was recommended by a grand jury in light of new findings from a fresh investigation carried out earlier this month. Baldwin had initially been indicted in January 2023 but the charges were dropped in April of the same year due to the emergence of new evidence that necessitated further investigation.
New Mexico District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies disclosed on CNN that the latest charges against Baldwin focus on the responsibilities he should have fulfilled both as a producer in ensuring a safe set, and as an actor in verifying the safety of the prop gun and projectiles he was handling.
SAG-AFTRA disagreed with this position, branding the claims as “wrong and uninformed.” According to the union’s released statement, an actor is not expected to be an expert in weapons or firearms. A firearm handed to an actor on a set is under numerous expert professionals who bear the responsibility of ensuring the safe and precise use of such a firearm. The responsibility of ensuring a safe work environment, the union further argued, lies on the employer.
Hutchins’ Family’s Attorney Responds
Gloria Allred, the Hutchins’ family legal representative, had a different viewpoint. In an address to the Hollywood Reporter, she stated that the principle that an actor is not culpable if they discharge a gun on a movie set “defies common sense and the law.” While safety procedures may be discussed during a trial, they are not equivalent to the law. She expressed that the grand jury assessed all the facts and laws before deciding to indict.
The incident on the Rust set occurred on October 21, 2021, when a vintage revolver held by Baldwin went off while he was rehearsing with the prop firearm. Assistant director David Halls had previously assured Baldwin that the firearm was not loaded with live ammunition. However, when the gun discharged, it was towards Hutchins, who died as a result, and director Joel Souza, who was injured. Investigations reveal the presence of five live rounds on the set on the fateful day, although it’s yet to be established how they got there.
In conclusion, Allred emphasized respecting the grand jury’s decision to indict and allowing for the trial to proceed. She expressed anticipation for a jury trial, where there will be a fair opportunity to determine who should bear the responsibility for Hutchins’ tragic demise.