Celebrity News March 11, 2022
Alec Baldwin Claims He’s Not Liable or Financially Responsible in ‘Rust’ Case
Alec Baldwin has made an arbitration demand, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, explaining why he believes he is not liable or financially responsible in the “Rust” case.
In October, Alec Baldwin, an actor and producer on the film, was holding the gun that discharged, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding writer-director Joel Souza on the set in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Baldwin has been named in several lawsuits since the incident, but according to THR, he claims armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls and the owner of the ammunition company used on set, Seth Kenney, were to blame.
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The docs state, “Immediately before the handoff to Baldwin, upon information and belief, Halls had taken the gun off a prop cart after it had been loaded by the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the person responsible for gun safety and managing the operation of firearm-related props on the set. Reed claims to have personally checked all of the rounds to ensure that they weren’t ‘hot’ and then loaded them into the pistol.”
Gutierrez-Reed’s lawyer told the New York Times that he was reviewing the filing, but did not comment.
Baldwin’s filing went on to claim that Halls previously told investigators he did not check every round in the gun before giving it to Alec. That is supported by a Times story in November that says Hall told investigators Gutierrez-Reed opened the gun for him to inspect, but “he should have checked all of them, but didn’t, and couldn’t recall if she spun the drum,” adding that he recalled seeing three rounds.
The papers further state, “Baldwin is an actor. He didn’t announce that the gun was ‘cold’ when it really contained a live round; he didn’t load the gun; he didn’t check the bullets in the gun; he didn’t purchase the bullets; he didn’t make the bullets and represent that they were dummies; he wasn’t in charge of firearm safety on the set; he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets or checked the gun; and he played no role in managing the movie’s props. Each of those jobs was performed by someone else.”
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Kenney had previously shared a statement with the Santa Fe New Mexican denying responsibility. “Mr. Kenney never handled any of the weapons or ammunition on set, and never provided any direction or guidance to the actors, and was not responsible for the on-set handling of firearms or ammunition.”
The statement continued, “These activities, including loading guns and verifying that no live rounds were brought onto set, were the responsibility of the film’s Armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.”
Meanwhile, Baldwin also refutes any accusations that he cut corners when it came to safety, saying he gave up $100,000 of his $250,000 salary to enhance “Rust’s” budget.
According to The Times, his lawyer Luke Nikas says in the filing that Baldwin’s contract requires arbitration and that a clause insulates him from any financial responsibility for legal fees or claims.
“Someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin,” Nikas wrote. “This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin.”
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Rust Movie Productions L.L.C. and producer Ryan Smith are named as respondents. The New York Times reached out but they did not respond to a request for comment.
Halyna’s husband Matt Hutchins has filed a wrongful death suit against Alec. Baldwin’s filing describes how he met with Matt after Halyna’s death, but their relationship had declined over time.
Last month, Matt told “Today’s” Hoda Kotb that Baldwin’s interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in December, upset him.
Matt told Kotb, “Watching him, I just felt so angry. I had been overcome by this anger when I saw Halyna at the funeral home and it all really crystalized and so I was trying to manage that anger and it really came out when I was watching him.”
“I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her,” he said.