Enterprise-Record (Chico)

Workplace-safety sanction finalized in Alec Baldwin shooting

- By Morgan Lee

No one is objecting to a settlement agreement to resolve allegation­s of workplace safety violations in the 2021 shooting death of a cinematogr­apher by Alec Baldwin on the set of a Western movie.

After a 20-day vetting period with no objections, the agreement between New Mexico workplace safety regulators and Rust Movie Production­s has been finalized along with a $100,000 fine against the company that originally bankrolled the movie “Rust.”

Matthew Maez, a spokesman for the state Environmen­t Department and its workplace safety bureau, confirmed Tuesday the conclusion of the workplace safety probe of Rust Movie Production­s under a final order. The $100,000 payment is due by April 15, he said.

Separately, Baldwin and weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are confrontin­g felony involuntar­y manslaught­er charges in the shooting death of cinematogr­apher Halyna Hutchins, who died shortly after being wounded during rehearsals at a ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe in October 2021.

Authoritie­s say Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when the gun went off, killing her and wounding director Joel Souza.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have pleaded not guilty, and an evidentiar­y hearing is scheduled in May to determine whether the case can proceed to trial. Baldwin was both a lead actor and coproducer on “Rust.” The charges carry a punishment of up to 18 months in prison.

The state’s final workplace-safety order states that Rust Movie Production­s “did not furnish a place of employment free from hazards in that employees were exposed to being struck by discharged rounds or projectile­s when firearms were used on the set of the motion picture production.”

Safety violations are categorize­d as “serious” — and not “willful-serious,” as initially alleged.

In April 2022, New Mexico’s Occupation­al Health and Safety Bureau slapped Rust Movie Production­s with a maximum $136,793 fine while distributi­ng a scathing narrative of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols, including testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address two misfires on set before the fatal shooting.

The bureau also documented gun-safety complaints from crew members that went unheeded and said weapons specialist­s were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.

Rust Movie Production­s previously announced that filming would resume this year on “Rust” at a ranch in Montana, with Hutchins’ widower, Matthew Hutchins, serving as the film’s new executive producer.

In court proceeding­s, prosecutor­s say assistant director David Halls, who oversaw safety on the set, has signed an agreement to plead guilty in the negligent use of a deadly weapon. A judge is scheduled to consider approval of the plea agreement next week.

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