Alec Baldwin’s lawyers have denied claims that the actor and producers on the set of Rust were “reckless” in the events that led to Halyna Hutchins’ death, following the release of an animation video of the late cinematographer’s fatal shooting by her family.
Hutchins’ family released a video on Tuesday detailing how they believe Baldwin shot and killed her on the set of the New Mexico film on October 21, 2021. A gun that the actor and producer were handling at the time discharged, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin has claimed that he did not fire the shot.
The newly released video shows Baldwin sitting on a church pew before pulling the trigger on a Colt.45 revolver and aiming it at Hutchins. It then shows her collapsing to the ground after being shot.
Later in the video, a narrator describes the exact moment Hutchins was shot and how the production team allegedly failed to implement safety standards on set.
The nearly 10-minute video includes animations of text messages and email screenshots from various crew members alleging that weapon safety was a “massive” issue throughout the film’s production.
Among the other allegations in the video is that Baldwin “refused” appropriate training just before the fatal shooting.
Hutchins’ family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and others involved in the film’s production. According to the lawsuit, Hutchins’ fatal shooting was the result of “reckless behavior” and “cost-cutting”
In response to the lawsuit and video, Baldwin’s legal team told Entertainment Tonight that Baldwin would have been assured at the time that the gun did not contain live ammunition because it was the responsibility of the production’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
Furthermore, the gun was handed to Baldwin by assistant director David Halls, who yelled “cold gun” at the time, indicating that it did not contain any live ammunition.
In the statement, the lawyers said that Baldwin, Hutchins “and the rest of the crew relied on the statement by the two professionals responsible for checking the gun that it was a ‘cold gun’—meaning there is no possibility of a discharge, blank or otherwise.”
According to the lawyers, the protocol “has worked on thousands of films, with millions of discharges, as there has never before been an incident on a set where an actual bullet harmed anyone.”
They stated that “actors should be able to rely on armorers and prop department professionals, as well as assistant directors, rather than deciding on their own when a gun is safe to us.”
“Any claim that Alec was reckless is entirely false,” the statement continued.
The lawsuit also names seven producers—Ryan Smith, Emily Salveson, Allen Cheney, Anjul Nigam, Nathan Klinger, Matthew Delpiano, and Ryan Winterstein—as well as crew members Sarah Zachry, assistant director Halls, armorer Gutierrez Reed, Gabrielle Pickle, and Seth Kenney.
The suit claims that those in charge of the production hired inexperienced and unqualified armorers and safety crew members, had the armorer double as an assistant props master, and used “unreasonably rushed” production schedules.
“Everyone’s hearts and thoughts remain with Halyna’s family as they continue to process this unspeakable tragedy,” the statement for Baldwin and the Rust production continued. “We continue to cooperate with the authorities to determine how live ammunition arrived on the Rust set in the first place.”
Baldwin claimed in a December 2021 interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that the gun discharged without him pulling the trigger. He also insisted that he was not to blame for Hutchins’ death.
Baldwin turned over his phone to authorities in January as part of the ongoing investigation.