Actor Alec Baldwin shared an open letter from Rust crew and cast members on Instagram hitting back at claims that the set was ‘chaotic, dangerous and exploitative.’
In the weeks since the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film, many have claimed that the production had an unsafe environment that was partly to blame for the tragedy.
Baldwin, who was holding the gun that fired and killed Hutchins, gave a teary-eyed interview a week ago in which he denied any personal responsibility and said the prop weapon discharged on its own when he cocked it.
He argued that someone else was at fault for the gun being loaded with live ammo, but argued that the culture behind the scenes was not at fault for the tragedy.
The open letter he shared on Instagram, which was signed by over 20 crew and cast members, supports that claim and begins by saying the writers of the letter were not influenced to make such a statement by any of the producers on set, including Baldwin.
It adds that the signing crewmembers ‘believe the public narrative surrounding our workplace tragedy is inadequate and wish to express a more adequate account of our experience.’
The letter explains that it is common in the film industry to work on productions that are ‘unprofessional’ and ‘hectic’ in order to ‘gain experience and credits,’ adding that many of the staffers signing the letter have worked on such productions.
‘Rust was not one of them,’ it adds. ‘Rust was professional. We do acknowledge that no set is perfect, and like any production, Rust had its areas of brilliant and its areas that were more challenging.’
The crewmembers add that they “stand firmly” with their unions and “strongly support the fight for better working conditions” across the industry, but asserts that the set of Rust is not an example of the circumstances they are “fighting against.’
‘The descriptions of Rust as a chaotic, dangerous and exploitative workplace are false and distract from what matters the most: the memory of Halyna Hutchins, and the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices.
The writers of the letter admit that a ‘few’ crew members quit before the tragedy, but says ‘the vast majority of us remained, never feeling the need to protest or quit. We were enjoying our workplace. Those disgruntled few do not represent the views of all of us.’
Alec Baldwin shared an open letter from the Rust staff on Instagram slamming the idea that the culture on set led to the fatal shooting of Halyna Hutchins. Baldwin is above stepping out with a friend in New York City on Wednesday
The letter denies that the set was ‘chaotic, dangerous and exploitative,’ despite the cast and crew who quit mid-production and ‘do not represent’ their views. Baldwin is above on set just hours before the fatal shooting
The writers say that such a narrative distracts from Halyna Hutchins’ memory and the need for better industry-wide safety practices
The writers of the letter say that their wages and working hours, which were 12 hours a day and typically from 6am to 6pm, were ‘fair and consistent with our expectations.’
The location and transportation requirements of the production were also ‘well understood’ by cast and crew willing to work on the historic film set at Bonanza Creek Ranch, the letter says, adding that housing was provided and required by their union and payments were made ‘generally’ on time.
The letter also says that employee morale was ‘high’ and ‘laughter and optimism’ was common, adding that ‘from the director down to the production assistants, all departments worked well together, collaborating and helping each other achieve shared artistic goals.’
‘We were well aware that we were producing good work, capturing beautiful imagery and great performances, and we were proud to be doing so. The work was hard, but meaningful.’
‘Please do not let the view of a few disgruntled employees to affect your view of the rest of us,’ the letter concludes before adding that the cast and crew ‘kindly request’ that the ‘speculation’ and ‘generalizations’ made by the general public be ‘sympathetic’ of them until the investigation concludes.
Hutchins’ October 19, 2021 Instagram post showed cast members and staffers, including Baldwin alongside Hutchins herself and armorer Gutierrez-Reed (circled left to right) on the set of Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico
The cast and crewmember’s open letter says throughout that the claims of the few who quit the film production should not be taken as the claims of the many
The letter also expresses gratitude and admiration for Halyna Hutchins, writing that she was at ‘the heart of our production’ and her work ethic was ‘inspiring.’
‘We are hurting from the loss of our friend and colleague … we are hurting from the loss of our togetherness, our spirit, and the loss of our labor. We are hurting for our friends that have been targeted by the public as they themselves grieve.’
The letter says throughout that the claims of the few who quit the film production should not be taken as the claims of the many, alluding to public statements made by former crewmembers like Lane Luper, who served as the film’s A-camera first assistant.
Luper quit one day before the fatal shooting because, he said, employees were being overworked, COVID-safety was not being enforced properly and gun safety was poor.
‘I think with Rust, it was the perfect storm of the armorer, the assistant director, the culture that was on set, the rushing. It was everything,’ he told Good Morning America about the events that led up to the fatal shooting.
‘It wasn’t just one individual. Everything had to fall into place for this one-in-a-trillion thing to happen.’
Last Thursday, Baldwin tearfully maintained that he didn’t pull the trigger and that the gun just ‘went off’ while in his hands
In his letter of resignation, Luper said there had been two accidental weapon discharges on set and one accidental sound-effects explosion that went off around the crew.
Meanwhile, in the weeks following the shooting, a number of former crew members have filed lawsuits related to the emotional damages they say the shooting caused them.
Three weeks ago, the script supervisor Mamie Mitchell tearfully announced that she was suing the actor and accused him of playing ‘Russian Roulette’ when he fired a gun without checking it first to make sure it was not loaded, and further claimed that the scene being filmed did not call for the firing of the gun.
The suit names 22 defendants associated with the film, including Baldwin, Rust producers, six production companies – El Dorado Pictures, Thomasville Pictures, Short Porch Pictures, Brittany House Pictures, 3rd Shift Media and Streamline Global – armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, First Assistant Director David Halls and others.
Mitchell, a 40-year industry veteran, was standing close to Hutchins when the bullet fired from Baldwin’s gun killed her and then injured director Joel Souza.
The suit claims assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate infliction of harm. It also states that the scene being shot did not require a gun to be fired.
‘I ran out and called 911 and said, “Bring everybody, send everybody,”’ Mitchell said during a press conference. ‘This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.’
And Serge Svetnoy, the head electrician on who held Hutchins in his arms as she died has also sued Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls over ‘severe emotional distress’ after the fatal shooting and revealed that the scene did not call for Baldwin to fire the gun.
Baldwin said he ‘would have killed [himself]’ if he felt responsible for shooting Hutchins in the Thursday ABC interview (pictured) where he discussed the aftermath of the fatal shooting for the first time since it took place
Svetnoy filed the suit against the three crew members – as well as others, who remain unnamed – and claimed that their alleged negligence led to the shooting and put him in emotional turmoil.
He told TMZ that he’s suing Baldwin because he ‘owed a duty to the Plaintiff and other crew members and actors on the “Rust” set to handle the Colt Revolver provided to him by Defendant Halls with reasonable care and diligence for the safety of “Rust” cast and crew.’
Just days before posting the Rust cast and crew open letter attempting to debunk the above claims, an umbrella-wielding Baldwin lashed out at New York Post journalist Jon Levine, who confronted him over his claim that he didn’t pull the trigger and fire the shot that killed Hutchins, despite cops saying he did so.
The encounter, filmed outside Woody Allen’s Upper East Side home Monday night, began with Baldwin’s wife Hilaria, 37, scolding the reporter while brandishing her phone’s camera and apparently filming him.
‘Did you really not pull the trigger? Do you believe it went off without you pulling the trigger? Was it a malfunction?’ Levine asked.
Last Thursday, Baldwin tearfully maintained that he didn’t pull the trigger and that the gun just ‘went off’ while in his hands.
‘I let go of the hammer, bang. The gun goes off. Everyone is horrified. They’re shocked. It’s loud,’ he said in an interview with ABC.
‘Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who it is, but it’s not me.’
Baldwin said he ‘would have killed [himself]’ if he felt responsible for shooting Hutchins in the Thursday ABC interview, where he discussed the aftermath of the fatal shooting for the first time since it took place.
Bryan W. Carpenter, a weapons armorer who works for Dark Thirty Film Services, said he was skeptical that Baldwin never pulled the trigger.
‘In order to make it fire, you have to put your thumb up onto the hammer, cock the hammer all the way back, and then as the hammer is completely cocked back, then you pull the trigger and then the gun fires,’ Carpenter told Fox News. ‘So that’s very important because that gun had to have two step process to fire. It had to be cocked and the trigger pulled to fire.’
Carpenter continued: ‘Once you cock the hammer back on one of those old west guns, it doesn’t take a lot to set that trigger off.’
His comments come after Santa Fe Sheriff Adan Mendoza told the outlet that ‘guns don’t just go off. So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, [Baldwin] did that and it was in his hands.’
Detectives are investigating whether Seth Kenney, a 51-year-old Hollywood veteran who was supposed to provide the film with dummy rounds and blanks, may have sent recycled bullets from a previous set, according to an affidavit filed by the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators there continue to probe Hutchins’ death, and have yet to file any criminal charges.
Hilaria Baldwin claims husband Alec Baldwin has been suffering from PTSD for a ‘long time’ even before Rust shooting… and complains about living in the ‘famous world’ in new video
Hilaria Baldwin has claimed husband Alec Baldwin is suffering from PTSD in her latest Instagram Story video, where she also complains about being a celebrity.
‘My husband is suffering from PTSD right now,’ Hilaria, 37, said on Thursday, adding that it has been something he’s dealt with for a ‘long time’.
Hilaria also complained that life in the ‘famous world’ has been a struggle, vowing to speak her ‘truth’ in 2022.
The latest: Hilaria Baldwin ranted about being a celebrity and claimed husband Alec Baldwin is suffering from PTSD in her latest Instagram stories.
Alec denied firing the gun that killed Hutchins during a teary-eyed interview with George Stephanopoulos earlier this month, insisting he did not feel guilty because he bore no responsibility for her death.
Two days later both he and Hilaria deleted their Twitter accounts following the interview.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, Hilaria also posted a video of her telling a reporter to ‘please go away’ alongside a caption: ‘I need to speak up about this. Not only for my family, but for those who were hurt before me.’
In the video on her Instagram Stories, Hilaria talked about the negative sides to fame and struggles with being a celebrity.
‘My husband is suffering from PTSD right now,’ Hilaria, 37, said on Friday, adding that it has been something he’s dealt with for a long time. She shared a photo of him with their son
‘One thing I’ve learned from entering this famous world is that when you get negative attention whether its from trolls or tabloid media and people say to you just ignore it, that’s what they want.’
‘If you give them attention, that is literally what they want. The issue is if you don’t say anything, you’re giving them a space to speak for you and your silence sometimes speaks enough for them to be able to commandeer your story.’
Adding: ‘But it’s tricky because because you don’t want to be constantly just responding to every single crazy thing they say.’
Hilaria added that Alec is suffering from PTSD, and noted its not from just from recent events. She did not give more details about what initially sparked his PTSD.
‘We often times have people creating new stories about us. Now my husband is suffering from PTSD right now.’
‘It’s something that not is not just from what happened recently but he’s been suffering from this for a very, very, very long time and these people know this.’
Earlier: Hours earlier, Hilaria documented her and her family getting this year’s Christmas tree
Strike a pose: She shared a snap of Alec carrying it as well as how it looked set up in their NYC home
Hilaria continued: ‘And they want to poke at him and they want to upset him. And then they want to create news about this. So if you create a news story then the next day there’s going to be tons of paparazzi and there’s going to be more stories that come off of that.’
‘And there’s more clicks and more shares and money which [is] what this is all about,’ she claimed.
Hilaria and Alec had previously discussed his diagnosis with obsessive compulsive disorder earlier this year on their ‘What’s One More’ podcast during an interview with Howie Mandel, who also suffers from OCD.
The Baldwins said Alec had been suffering from the disorder for years and that they were ‘still very new to the journey of understanding what OCD is, but we’re learning that by being open about our challenges, we find a community where we realize we are not so alone, and we can be a part of paving the way for more people to seek help.’
Alec did not specify how his OCD manifested, but said he was learning to track his symptoms.
Hilaria finished her Thursday video message by declaring she is going to ‘reclaim’ her voice.
‘I’m at a place where I’m tired of not talking and I want to get to a place where I can use my voice you that this is not just a famous thing. This is an all the time thing. Everybody has trolls. Everybody has people who want to tell you whether you’re good or bad or what you think or what you feel.’
Her truth: Hilaria also complained that life in the ‘famous world’ has been a struggle, vowing to speak her truth in 2022; seen out solo on Wednesday in New York City
Hilaria then gave advice to her Instagram followers: ‘You need to reclaim your voice. And you’re allowed to speak. Have your boundaries. Know when to walk away. But you’re allowed to speak your truth because 2022 – year of us speaking again.’
Hours earlier, Hilaria documented her and her family getting this year’s Christmas tree.
She shared a snap of Alec carrying it as well as how it looked set up in their NYC home.
Hilaria and Alec shared six kids together; Carmen, eight, Rafael, six, Leonardo, five, Romeo, three, Eduardo, one, and Lucia, seven months.
Alec has daughter Ireland, 26, with ex-wife Kim Basinger.