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‘Rust’ crew walked off set to protest working conditions hours before cinematographer death: Reports

  • October 23, 2021

“Rust” in protest of working conditions hours before Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm, accidentally killing the cinematographer and injuring the director.

According to the Los Angeles Times and Deadline, crew members working on the upcoming Western film raised concerns about several problems, including safety issues, prior to Thursday’s incident that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, dead and director Joel Souza, 48, under emergency care.

The outlets report that, hours before the fatal incident, members of the “Rust” camera crew packed up their gear and walked off the job in protest and, per the LA Times, were replaced with nonunion crew members soon after. The outlets also noted at least two previous misfires on a prop gun on set days before.

In a statement to the LA Times and Deadline, Rust Movie Productions LLC said the “safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company.”

“Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down,” the company continued. “We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Rust Productions and to Baldwin’s production company El Dorado Pictures for comment.

Alec Baldwin discharged prop gun containing a ‘live single round’ in fatal ‘Rust’ set incident

A helicopter transported Hutchins to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Souza was transported via ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital and has since been released, according to his rep Matt DelPiano. 

USA TODAY obtained an email sent to members of IATSE Local 44, a union of prop makers and other craft persons who work within the entertainment industry, about the incident. The message said the prop gun from the “Rust” set was loaded with “a live single round” and that no Local 44 members were on set.

What is a prop gun and how can it kill someone? How the Alec Baldwin tragedy was possible

Deputies responded to a 911 call Thursday afternoon that someone had been shot on the Bonanza Creek Ranch set of “Rust,” according to the sheriff’s office.

“Rust” stars Baldwin, 63, who also serves as a producer on the film. Production on the Western has been halted.

Halyna Hutchins killed after ‘horrifying’ prop gun misfire; Joe Manganiello, more pay tribute

What we know about the deadly shooting on Alec Baldwin’s movie set of ‘Rust’

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