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Alec Baldwin Posts Letter From Some 'Rust' Crew Members Saying Narrative Around Set Conditions 'Inaccurate'
Twenty-five crew members signed a letter saying “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."
Alec Baldwin posted a public letter to Instagram Thursday from some of the crew members of the film "Rust," saying they believe the “public narrative” about their workplace prior to the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has been “inaccurate.”
“This letter is written on behalf of the cast and crew of the film production, Rust. It has not been sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers,” the letter begins. “We, the undersigned, believe the public narrative surrounding our workplace tragedy to be inadequate and wish to express a more accurate account of our experience.”
The letter, which is signed by 25 crew members from 23 different departments involved in the film, goes on to say that they are “hurting” from Hutchins’ death.
“She was, in many ways, at the heart of our production, and losing her hurt every single one of us,” they wrote.
Hutchins was killed Oct. 21 when an antique revolver Baldwin had pointed at the camera during a rehearsal discharged and struck Hutchins in the chest, according to search warrants in the case obtained by Oxygen.com. The same bullet also struck director Joel Souza in the shoulder. While Souza survived, Hutchins was later pronounced dead at a New Mexico hospital.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating how the live round got into the prop gun.
To date, no charges have been filed in connection with Hutchins’ death.
In the weeks after the shooting, reports emerged about a group of disgruntled employees who had walked off the set just before the shooting after voicing concerns about long hours, inadequate lodging and safety on the set.
The letter pushes back on that characterization of the on-set climate, describing the work place as “professional.”
“Unfortunately, in the film industry, it is common to work on unprofessional or hectic productions to gain experience and credits. Many of us have worked on those types of productions. Rust was not one of them. Rust was professional. We do acknowledge that no set is perfect, and like any production, Rust had areas of brilliance and areas that were more challenging,” they wrote. “While we stand firmly with our unions and strongly support the fight for better working conditions across our industry, we do not feel that this set was a representation of the kind of conditions our unions are fighting against.”
According to those who signed the letter, the “inaccurate” depiction of the movie set has shifted the focus away from Hutchins.
“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 wrote. “While it is true that a few crew members quit prior to the accident, 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.”
They called the working hours and wages “fair and consistent with expectations.”
“The working morale on the set was high,” they wrote in a second page of the letter. “Laughter and optimism were common amongst cast and crew. From the director down to the production assistants, all departments worked well together, collaborating and helping each other achieve shared artistic goals. We were 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.”
According to their account, producers and production managers had been supportive of the crew’s efforts on the film before the fatal shooting.
“Please do not allow a few disgruntled employees affect your view of the rest of us,” they wrote.
Not everyone appears to agree with the assertions made in the public letter.
Gaffer Serge Svetnoy filed a lawsuit last month in Los Angeles Superior Court against Baldwin, other producers on the film, financiers, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and Assistant Director David Halls, among others, alleging negligence, according to IndieWire. Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell has also filed a lawsuit alleging that Baldwin “intentionally” fired the weapon, The New York Times reports.
In his first public interview after the shooting, Baldwin told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview airing last week that he never pulled the trigger to the prop gun, which he believed had been loaded with dummy rounds.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn't even supposed to be on the property," he said. "Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me."