Husband of cinematographer killed on ‘Rust’ set blames Alec Baldwin, safety violations
Matthew Hutchins, husband of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins — who was killed during filming of the movie “Rust” — expressed outrage over actor Alec Baldwin’s response to the shooting.
In an interview airing Thursday morning on NBC’s “Today,” Hutchins blamed the actor as well as what he called a lack of adherence to industry safety standards on the set for his wife’s death.
Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed Oct. 21 when she was struck by a live bullet from a gun that Baldwin was drawing during a rehearsal on a movie ranch outside of Santa Fe. The bullet passed through her and injured the director, Joel Souza.
Earlier this month, Matthew Hutchins filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Baldwin and others linked to the production.
“The idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me,” Hutchins told “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb.
Baldwin previously deflected any blame for the shooting in an interview on ABC, adding that it was unlikely he would be charged criminally.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” Baldwin said. “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Those comments enraged Hutchins.
“Watching him I just felt so angry,” Hutchins told NBC. “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.”
Hutchins was harsh in his assessment of Baldwin’s performance in the ABC interview.
“It almost sounds like he was the victim,” Hutchins said. “Hearing him blame Halyna in the interview and shift responsibility to others and seeing him cry about it, I just feel like, ‘Are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?’ ”
In an earlier statement, Aaron Dyer, an attorney for Baldwin and other producers, disputed claims that Baldwin was reckless and said he followed proper protocols.
“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 use,” Dyer said.
The interview is the first time Hutchins, a Los Angeles resident, has spoken out about the killing of his wife, who is also survived by their 9-year-old son, Andros.
“A member of the production team told me that Halyna had been shot, my heart sank right away,” Hutchins told “Today.” “It was completely inexplicable to me that it could’ve happened at that moment, and the first thing I thought, I sat down and I said, ‘I have to get my son,’ because I had to be with him.
After he rushed home, Hutchins shared the news with Andros.
“I told him, sitting together, that his mother had been shot and died. And, of course, he didn’t believe it right away. He didn’t want to believe it. I think that that kind of news you just have to say multiple times so that it can be believed. And so he believed it, and we cried together then.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting a criminal investigation into the tragedy. The district attorney in New Mexico has yet to bring any charges in the case.
Three other members of the crew have filed lawsuits accusing the producers and Baldwin of negligence and other claims.
In his interview, Hutchins said “gun safety was not the only problem on that set,” where the camera crew had complained of unsafe working conditions, including accidental gun discharges.
“There were a number of industry standards that were not practiced and there’s multiple responsible parties,” he said.
Baldwin, who is also a producer on the movie, has sought to counter claims of problems on set. In December, he shared on his Instagram feed a letter by a group of “Rust” crew members to their union and the New Mexico Film Office, saying depictions of the production “as a chaotic, dangerous, and exploitative workplace are false.”
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