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New Mexico fines ‘Rust’ for intentionally damaging gun safety

SANTA FE, NM — New Mexico’s Workplace Safety Administration on Wednesday issued the maximum possible fine against a film production company for unsafe gun on the set “Rust,” where a cinematographer was shot dead in October 2021 by actor and producer Alec Baldwin.

New Mexico’s Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health said Rust Movie Productions paid $139,793 and distributed a scathing story of safety flaws that violated industry standard protocols, including testimony that the The production manager took little or no action to resolve two fires on set before the dead man was taken.

The office also records gun safety complaints from crew members that go unnoticed and says firearms professionals are not authorized to make decisions about further safety training.

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Bob Genoway, director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, told The Associated Press: “What we have, based on the results of our investigation, is a set of obvious hazards to employees associated with this. use of weapons and management’s failure to act in the face of such obvious dangers.

On a ranch in the suburbs of Santa Fe on October 21, 2021, Baldwin pointed a gun at cameraman Halyna Hutchins inside a chapel during setup to shoot a scene as it erupted, killing Hutchins. and injured the director, Joel Souza.

Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was pointing a gun at Hutchins as directed by her on the New Mexico set of Western when it fired without him pulling the trigger.

The new workplace safety report confirms that a large revolver was delivered to Baldwin by assistant manager David Halls without consulting on-site firearms experts during or after the firearm. gun is loaded. Managers noted that Halls also acted as a safety coordinator and that he was present and witnessed two accidental shootings on set and that he and other managers were aware of the incident. No investigation, correction or disciplinary action was taken. The crew members expressed surprise and displeasure.

“The Safety Coordinator was on set and took no direct action to address safety concerns,” the report states. “Management was provided with multiple opportunities to take corrective actions and chose not to do so. As a result of these failures, Director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins were seriously injured. Halyna Hutchins couldn’t cope with her injuries.”

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A spokesman for Rust Movie Productions did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Lawyers for Baldwin were not immediately available.

James Kenney, secretary of the Environment Department that oversees occupational safety, said the agency spent 1,500 working hours on the investigation, reviewing hundreds of documents and conducting at least a dozen interviews with actors. members and crew members.

Investigators found that production managers placed tight resource constraints on a small group of firearms operators on set and failed to address concerns about a handgun that was not being used twice. monitoring.

Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the daughter of a skilled hunter and film production consultant, was limited to eight paid days as an officer in charge of overseeing weapons and training, and assigned duties. more gentle as an assistant props. When his senior year ended, Gutierrez Reed alerted a manager and was turned down.

Safety investigators also noted that the production company had not developed a process to ensure live ammunition was not carried onto the set, in violation of industry safety protocols. Safety meetings were held, but weapons were not used as required every day.

Kenney said separate investigations into the possible criminal charges are still underway.

He said his agency had received no direct safety complaints from the cast or crew prior to the fatal shooting, although they were asked to remain anonymous.

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

Kenney was appointed in 2019 by Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a staunch supporter of the film industry who raised the state cap on industry incentives soon after taking office. office.

New Mexico competes with non-Hollywood production locations in states like Georgia, Louisiana, and New York. Film producers have flocked to New Mexico in recent years to capture the diverse outdoor scene, moderate costs, and generous state incentives, including discounts ranging from 25% to 35 % of domestic spending on video production helps filmmakers large and small to bail out. their job.

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