Update: Alec Balwin posted a statement from his attorney on Instagram responding to the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau’s fine of $136,793 over the “plain indifference to the safety of employees” demonstrated by the producers. The OHSB fined the production company of the Alec Baldwin film Rust yesterday.
“We are grateful to the New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau for investigating this matter,” Baldwin’s Instagram post reads. “We appreciate that the report exonerates Mr. Baldwin by making clear that he believed the gun held only dummy rounds. Additionally, the report recognizes that Mr. Baldwin’s authority on the production was limited to approving script changes and creative casting.”
“Mr. Baldwin had no authority over the matters that were the subject of the Bureau’s findings of violations, and we are pleased that the New Mexico officials have clarified these critical issues. We are confident that the individuals identified in the report will be held accountable for this tragedy.”
It’s impossible for the killing of Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust to have a happy ending. A life was taken and the lives of her loved ones will never be the same. Still, those of us who were horrified by reports of lax safety measures that led to her death held out hope that someone, anyone would be held accountable. Well, someone has. Per Variety, New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) handed Rust’s production company the maximum fine for its safety failure: $136,793.
Last October, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed after a firearm held by actor Alec Baldwin misfired. The deadly accident was the third misfire on set, according to the OHSB’s report, and one of many safety and union regulations allegedly skirted by producers. “The Safety Coordinator was present 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 severely injured. Halyna Hutchins succumbed to her injuries.”
According to the report by the OHSB, the production “willfully violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act by demonstrating plain indifference to the safety of employees and exposing those employees to the serious hazards associated with firearm use.” As a result, the OHSB slapped producers with the maximum fine allowed, which still feels a little low, considering their “plain indifference” ended in a woman’s death.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, said, “What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards.”