“Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins says it’s a “comfort” that no one in New Mexico is above the law after the decision to bring criminal charges against actor-producer Alec Baldwin and the film’s gunman.
More than 15 months after Hutchins’ 2021 shooting death, Baldwin and “Rust” Hannah Gutierrez Reed’s weapons handler faces felony charges related to the October 2021 incident.
Baldwin, 64, who stars in and is a producer of the low-budget western, was charged Thursday with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and Gutierrez Reed, who loaded the prop gun that shot Baldwin, is facing involuntary manslaughter charges. Assistant director David Halls reached a plea deal on a misdemeanor charge in connection with the fatal shooting, which also injured director Joel Souza.
In a statement released through an attorney, Hutchins’ family thanked the Santa Fe sheriff and district attorney for their “thorough investigation” in determining that charges were “necessary for the killing of Halyna Hutchins with a conscious disregard for human life. “
The family added, “We support the charges, we will fully cooperate with this prosecution, and we strongly hope that the justice system works to protect the public and hold those who break the law accountable.”
An attorney for Baldwin on Thursday called the proposed criminal charges “a terrible miscarriage of justice” and said “we will fight these charges, and we will win.”
Initial reactions to the shooting were swift and shocked Hollywood. Many celebrities have called for better gun safety on sidewalks, saying people in the New Mexico thriller industry who worked on “Rust” walked out in protest of poor working conditions. Since then, however, there has been a more muted reaction to developments in the long-term situation within the industry.
“Honestly I don’t really understand how he’s responsible but I think he pulled the trigger,” said a person affiliated with a talent agency who was not authorized to speak publicly about the charges.
In long Twitter threadKirk Acevedo, an actor who appeared in HBO’s “Band of Brothers,” Fox’s “Fringe” and the CW’s “Arrow,” called the involuntary manslaughter charge coming in against Baldwin “the most ridiculous charge ever” and added squarely blamed on Gutierrez Reed.
“Most of those actors had never fired a real gun in their lives and those who did had no clue how to properly hold or fire a live weapon let alone the prop weapons we were given. It was the duty of the technical advisers we had on those sets to show us or the armourer,” he added tweeted.
California Sen. Dave Cortese (D-San Jose) said he plans to reintroduce legislation this year to establish safety standards in Hollywood after efforts to pass new laws in 2022 failed. an alliance of studios and unions to find common ground. to revert changes.
“I am working with stakeholders and leaders in the industry, including many entertainment workers, to push forward these real reforms and avoid another tragedy,” Cortese said in a statement. “What we’ve learned is that this is an issue that needs to be addressed across the industry, rather than on an incident-by-incident basis, to strengthen safety as a whole and ensure we keep productions safe for everyone.”
“Today’s news reinforces that anyone can be a tragic victim due to the lack of statutory safety protocols,” Cortese added.
The charging decision comes three months after Baldwin and the film’s other producers negotiated a settlement agreement with the Hutchins family to end the wrongful death civil lawsuit filed early last year. The family initially blamed Hutchins’ death on cost-cutting measures and reckless behavior by Baldwin and others.
Meanwhile, right-wing watchdogs who have long been critical of Baldwin’s liberal views — and his Emmy-winning impersonation of former President Trump — reacted with glee at the legal outcome.
“It’s great to see that Alec Baldwin is finally being charged with killing that young woman. I hope they throw the book at him because he showed dishonesty and lack of humility every day after that,” tweeted conservative commentator Candace Owens, who attacked Baldwin Ireland’s daughter on Twitter in the days after the shooting.
Here’s an example of the mixed reaction to Thursday’s charges:
Times staff writers Meg James, Wendy Lee, Anousha Sakoui and Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.