Crew members on the Alec Baldwin film Rust were reportedly concerned about the safety of the prop gun that caused a fatal shooting earlier this week.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins tragically died, and director Joel Souza was left injured after Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun during filming.
According to the Los Angeles Times, six camera crew members walked off the set in Sante Fe, New Mexico, to protest the film’s working environment just six hours before the accident.
Reportedly, the workers were frustrated by long working hours, delayed paycheques and the long commute from the set to their accommodation in Albuquerque.
On top of that, the Los Angeles Times reports that one worker sent a text message to their unit producer manager concerning the “super unsafe” conditions of the shoot.
“We’ve now had three accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” they reportedly wrote.
Sources also told the Los Angeles Times that safety protocols like regular gun inspections were not rigorously followed.
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Speaking of the alleged accidental prop gun discharges, a crew member told the publication that there “should have been an investigation into what happened.”
“There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush,” they said.
According to The Guardian, the film’s head armourer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, had also expressed doubts about whether she had enough experience for the job.
Last month, Gutierrez Reed revealed on the Voices of the West podcast that she had almost turned down her last job “because I wasn’t sure if I was ready”.
Rust Productions have since released a statement saying that they 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,” they added.
According to an affidavit for a search warrant for the movie set filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, an assistant director had handed Baldwin the prop gun and yelled “cold gun”, seemingly indicating that it didn’t contain live rounds.
It is not yet known how a live round came to be placed in the gun, with the affidavit stating that the assistant director “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun.”
This is a developing story as the investigation remains open and active.
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