Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin has decided that the blame for him firing a gun at and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the recording of the film “Rust” last October doesn’t lie with him. To hear him tell it, the blame lies with his colleagues.
“Baldwin placed responsibility for the tragedy on Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who served as the armorer and props assistant on the film, and assistant director Dave Halls, who handed him the gun,” CNN reported Saturday after interviewing him.
Speaking for himself, Baldwin said, “Someone put a live bullet in the gun who should have known better. That was [Gutierrez Reed’s] job. Her job was to look at the ammunition and put in the dummy round or the blank round, and there wasn’t supposed to be any live rounds on the set.”
“There are two people who didn’t do what they were supposed to do. I’m not sitting there saying I want them to, you know, go to prison, or I want their lives to be hell. I don’t want that, but I want everybody to know that those are the two people that are responsible for what happened.”
He added that he believes that “neither one of them should ever work in a film set again.”
Critics staunchly disagree:
It is his job. The actor is supposed to check the gun when it is handed off to him as part of safety protocols. This is the same safety rule in all cases when a gun is handed off, not just movie sets. As a veteran of many movies and a producer he would be aware of this.
— Dale Plant (@DalePlant67) August 21, 2022
this dude was handed a gun and failed to follow the number 1 rule “treat all firearms as if they were loaded” if you pick up or are handed a firearm you are responsible for safety checking it. there is no one else to blame but Alec Baldwin
— Alex Padron (@imalexpadron_) August 20, 2022
So when a cop shoots someone it’s their fault, but when Alec Baldwin does it it’s someone else’s fault?
— Joe Chiarella (@j_chiarella) August 20, 2022
He’s the one who pulled the trigger. It’s his responsibility to make a final check of the weapon.
— Georgia Boy (@CummingsLewisc) August 20, 2022
He was the producer and he pulled the trigger, pretty clear to me who’s to blame.
— SJMurphy (@murphsjmx3) August 20, 2022
Yet he pulled the trigger.
— Luis Penuela (@LuisAlfredoPC) August 21, 2022
But to be fair to Baldwin, the story’s more complicated than it appears, in that it’s not a simple matter of him just having picked up a loaded gun and fired it.
Documents reviewed by CNN show that Gutierrez Reed told Halls to give her a head’s up when Baldwin arrived on set so she could first check his firearm. But Halls never got in touch with her. Instead he “handed the revolver directly to Baldwin.”
This raises a couple questions, according to Baldwin: “Why didn’t [Gutierrez Reed] check that bullet? Why didn’t Halls obey her? Why did he give me the gun? Why didn’t he check? Why did he tell the crew [it was a cold gun]?”
These are fair questions. That being said, both Gutierrez Reed and Halls have cried foul over the blame being shifted in their direction.
“We disagree with Mr. Baldwin’s attempts to deflect blame onto others. It is not for him to decide or to apportion blame,” Gutierrez Reed’s attorney said.
In a statement, Halls’ attorney added, “Baldwin is pointing the finger at others because the evidence is pointing at him. Halls is not responsible. Everyone needs to stop. People are only pointing the finger at Halls because they don’t want the responsibility of being wrong. Halls is a scapegoat. People need to look at the evidence.”
There’s also the matter of the bullets. Why were they live bullets instead of dummy bullets? During the interview with CNN, Baldwin “wondered aloud whether Seth Kenney, the movie’s props supplier, accidentally provided live bullets to the ‘Rust’ set.”
On this matter, he and Gutierrez Reed are in agreement. Back in January, she sued Kenney and his company, PDQ Arm and Prop, LLC:
“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed has sued the weapons provider on the western, alleging he supplied a mismarked box of ammunition containing live rounds to the set, contributing to the deadly accident involving Alec Baldwin.https://t.co/PFnA1fVgOd
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) January 13, 2022
“The suit alleges that Kenney and PDQ violated New Mexico’s Unfair Trade Practices Act by introducing dangerous products onto the movie set and by providing ammunition with ‘false label representations,'” as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
“A box of ammunition, which surfaced on the set near Santa Fe on the morning of the fatal Oct. 21 accident, was labeled ‘dummies’ even though the box contained seven live rounds mixed in with 43 dummies, according to the suit.”
Kenney has for his part claimed that he did not provide the set with live ammunition.
Baldwin’s interview comes only days after the FBI reportedly concluded that the gun involved in the death of Hutchins had to have been fired by Baldwin, despite his longtime claim that he didn’t pull the trigger.
In his CNN interview, Baldwin also complained about losing gigs because of the shooting, but then turned around and claimed he thinks about Hutchins’ tragic death every day.
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