Entertainment

New Mexico fined film company for filming Alec Baldwin Entertainment

SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico’s workplace safety regulators on Wednesday imposed a maximum fine of nearly $ 137,000 against a film production company for violating the security of firearms at the Rusty set, where actor and producer Alec in October Baldwin was fatally shot by a filmmaker. .

The New Mexico Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health said Rust Movie Productions had to pay $ 136,793, and circulated a scathing account of security breaches that violated industry standard protocols, including evidence that production managers took limited or no action at all to eliminate two misfires on the set before the fatal outcome. shooting. The bureau also documented complaints from crew members about the safety of weapons use that went unnoticed, and said gun specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional security training.

“Based on the findings of our investigators, we had a number of obvious dangers to employees due to the use of firearms and the failure of management to act on these obvious dangers,” said Bob Genoaway, head of the Occupational Safety and Health Bureau.

On a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021, Baldwin aimed a gun at cinematographer Galina Hutchins in a small church during a setup for filming a scene when it worked, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel. Tears.

Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he aimed a gun at Hutchins on her instructions while filming a western movie in New Mexico when it worked without him pulling the trigger.

A new occupational safety report confirms that the large-caliber revolver was handed over to Baldwin by assistant director David Hols without consulting with weapons specialists during or after the pistol was loaded. Regulators note that Halls also served as a safety coordinator and that he was present and witnessed two accidental rifle shootings on the set, and that he and other managers who knew about the misfires did not take any investigative, corrective or disciplinary action. Crew members expressed surprise and discomfort.

“The security coordinator was present on the set and did not take direct action to address security issues,” the report said. “Management has been given many opportunities to take corrective action, and it has decided not to do so. As a result of these failures, director Joel Souza and cinematographer Galina Hutchins were seriously injured. Galina Gutchins died of her injuries. “

Rust Movie Productions said through a spokeswoman that it would challenge the findings and sanctions.

“While we appreciate the time and effort of OSHA to investigate it, we do not agree with its findings and plan to appeal,” said Stephen Friedman. Any appeal will first be considered by the state commission on labor protection.

Baldwin’s lawyer was not immediately available.

The state’s fine covers a film with a budget of about $ 7 million. Baldwin earned a salary of $ 250,000 as an actor and producer and may have returned some of that money to the production.

At least five lawsuits have been filed over the shooting, including the Hutchins family’s illegal death lawsuit against Baldwin and other filmmakers. A lawsuit on behalf of widower Matt Hutchins and his 9-year-old son claims they are “grossly” ignoring in the face of security complaints on set.

James Kenny, secretary of the Department of the Environment, which oversees occupational safety, said the agency devoted 1,500 hours to investigating staff, studied hundreds of documents and conducted at least a dozen interviews with actors and crew members.

Researchers found that production managers imposed severe resource constraints on a small team that controlled weapons on the set, and twice failed to resolve issues over a gun left unattended.

Gunner Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the daughter of a sniper and film production consultant, was limited to eight paid days as a gunsmith for gun surveillance and training, and was otherwise assigned to lighter duties as a prop assistant. When her time in the gunman ran out, Gutierrez Reed warned the manager and was repulsed.

Gutierrez Reed is both a plaintiff and a defendant in lawsuits for damages resulting from a fatal shooting. In a statement Wednesday, her lawyer stressed the findings that the gunman “was not given enough time or resources to do his job effectively.”

Security investigators also note that the production company has not developed a process that ensures that ammunition is not brought to the set, in violation Industry security protocols. Security meetings were held, but weapons were not used every day as required.

Kenny said a separate investigation into possible criminal charges is still ongoing. The Santa Fe County Sheriff and the local prosecutor’s office had no immediate comment.

Kenny said his agency had not received direct security complaints from actors or crew to the deadly shooting, even though anonymity was offered.

“This tragedy, this loss of life, it could have been prevented, and we want people to say something,” he said.

Kenny was appointed in 2019 by Governor of the Democratic Party Michel Lujan Grisham, a staunch defender of the film industry, which increased the state limit on industry incentives shortly after taking office.

New Mexico competes with non-Hollywood manufacturing sites in states such as Georgia, Louisiana and New York. In recent years, filmmakers have moved to New Mexico to take advantage of its diverse outdoor landscapes, moderate spending and generous government incentives, including a 25 to 35 percent discount on government spending on video production that helps big and small filmmakers get insurance. their work.

https://www.indianagazette.com/entertainment/new-mexico-fines-film-company-over-alec-baldwin-shooting/article_bfa35e72-344b-557e-a6df-e491f5aba38f.html

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