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(Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Film

Alec Baldwin 'Rust' shooting report finds "management knew" safety procedures were not followed

@notmyyaztattoo

On October 21st, 2021, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Bonanza City, New Mexico, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza were shot, the former fatally, the latter injured, on the set of the film Rust. the accident occurred due to a live round being discharged from a revolver used as a prop by actor Alec Baldwin.

A recent report into Baldwin’s fatal shooting of the cinematographer, as well as the injuries to the director, has found management “knew that firearm safety procedures were not being followed.”

Environment Cabinet Secretary James Kenney has said in a statement, “Our investigation found that this tragic incident never would have happened if Rust Movie Productions, LLC had followed national film industry standards for firearm safety. This is a complete failure of the employer to follow recognized national protocols that keep employees safe.”

As a result of the incident and the subsequent report, New Mexico workplace safety regulators have issued the maximum fine against the film production company, citing them for firearms safety failures and violations. 

Due to the safety failures, Rust Movie Productions must pay a penalty of $139,793, although the specifics remain to be seen, and more developments will likely follow in terms of the ongoing legal proceedings.

The shooting happened during a rehearsal on the set of the film Rust, during which the actor was unaware that the gun was actually loaded, leading to the fatal mistake.

We can only hope that, in the future, film industry professionals will follow the safety guidelines and protocols more closely so as to avoid tragedies and incidents like this one. New Mexico workplace safety regulators have said that this “demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety.” And this is an issue that will no doubt need more attention going forward.