Alec Baldwin’s fatal shot: the producers of the film "Rust" appeal their fine

Authorities in New Mexico fined the production of the film $136,793. This responds, rejecting all responsibility in the tragedy that cost the life of Halyna Hutchins.

The film producers Rust are appealing the fine imposed by the New Mexico Department of the Environment, which accuses them of having breached safety measures on the plateau. Last October, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza injured on set as Alec Baldwin rehearsed with what he believed to be a safe, unloaded gun.

Rust Movie Productions was fined 136,793 dollars (126,000 euros) last April. According to the Department of the Environment of New Mexico – state in the southwestern United States where the filming took place – the producers of Rust showed a “manifest indifference to the recognized dangers of using firearms on set”.

“The law explicitly allows producers to delegate”

According to documents relayed by the HollywoodReporterwhich reveals the information, the production company assures that the security department of the ministry is not able to determine if there was indeed a violation of the protocol on the set:

“What they call a ‘fire extinguisher’ by ensuring that it should have been inspected and maintained is not a real fire extinguisher, but a special effects device that creates fake smoke”, they assure. “Their attempt to extend fire extinguisher regulation to a special effects device shows their misunderstanding of the movie industry.”

Rust Movie Productions adds that the supervision of the set was not its responsibility: “The law explicitly allows producers to delegate such crucial tasks as firearms safety to experts in this field, and does not assign this responsibility to producers, whose expertise lies in the management of finances and contracts for filming logistics.” The production assures in the same document that it has respected all the security protocols and that it had intervened on previous minor incidents reported by the ministry.

Blurred responsibility

In its April decision, the New Mexico Department of the Environment called “serious” and “deliberate” breaches, which “suggest that if standard industry safety procedures had been followed, the fatal shooting to Halyna Hutchins and the serious injury to Joel Souza would not have happened.”

The question of responsibility has arisen since the day of the tragedy, and all the protagonists pass the buck. Serge Svetnoy, the film’s chief lighting designer, filed a “negligence” suit against Alec Baldwin, the film’s producer and the film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, last November. The latter, whose name is frequently mentioned, said she was the victim of a set-up. She herself denounced a “dangerous” set. In February, Halyna Hutchins’ family filed lawsuits against Alec Baldwin, seven producers and members of the film crew.

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