More than 20 members of the Rust crew are speaking out against the “false” reports surrounding the death of Halyna Hutchins—the 42-year-old cinematographer who was fatally shot on set.
In an open letter signed by 25 people and posted by actor and producer Alec Baldwin, the crew acknowledges there were imperfect and challenging areas within the production, but insists it was far from the “chaotic,” “dangerous” environment it’s been made it out to be.
“We are hurting from the loss of our friend and colleague, Halyna Hutchins. She was, in many ways, at the heart of our production, and losing her hurt every single one of us,” the letter reads, before referencing the staff walkouts that occurred prior to the deadly shooting. “Unfortunately, in the film industry, it is common to work on unprofessional or hectic productions to gain experience and credits. Many of us have worked on those types of productions. Rust was not one of them. Rust was professional … While we stand firmly with our unions and strongly support the fight for better working conditions across our industry, we do not feel that this set was a representation of the kind of conditions our unions are fighting against.”
It continues, “The descriptions of Rust as a chaotic, dangerous, and exploitative workplace are false and distract from what matters the most: the memory of Halyna Hutchins, and the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices.”
The crew states the letter was not “sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers,” including Baldwin, who also starred in the film. The 63-year-old actor was the one who discharged the prop gun, ultimately killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
Baldwin opened up about the tragedy in a recent interview with ABC News, claiming he was not responsible for the shooting.
“The gun was supposed to be empty. I was told I was handed an empty gun,” he told George Stephanopoulos. “The notion that there was a live round in that gun did not dawn on me until probably 45 minutes to an hour later… I feel that someone is responsible for what happened. And I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me. I mean, honest to God, if I felt that I was responsible, I might have killed myself. And I don’t say that lightly.”
Baldwin and the other Rust producers are facing two lawsuits filed by Rust chief electrician Serge Svetnoy and script supervisor Mamie Mitchell. They claim to have suffered severe emotional distress due to the defendant’s negligence.
You can read the Rust crew’s full letter below.