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Alec Baldwin addresses ‘Rust’ ‘workplace tragedy’ in new open letter

Alec Baldwin and the cast and crew of Rust have addressed claims the state of their workplace contributed to the death of Halyna Hutchins

By Jessie Atkinson

Alex Baldwin Rust shooting interview
Alec Baldwin speaking to ABC News following the fatal shooting on the set of 'Rust'

Alec Baldwin has shared an impassioned open letter on his Instagram to dismiss descriptions of ‘Rust’ as a “chaotic, dangerous and exploitative workplace”.

Co-signed by twenty-five of the film’s cast and crew, the letter follows the death on October 21 of Halyna Hutchins, who was killed after a prop gun allegedly being handled by Alec Baldwin “discharged”.

The 42 year-old cinematographer was airlifted from the film set at Bonanza Creed Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico but later died in hospital. ‘Rust’ director Joel Souza was also injured in the incident.

At the time, Baldwin said in a statement: “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins.”

In the new open letter shared to his Instagram on December 9, Baldwin wrote that “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”.

In the opening sentence, Baldwin notes that the letter had “not been sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers”.

He goes on to argue that “the memory of Halyna Hutchins” is what matters most, as well as “the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices”.

On December 2, Baldwin claimed that he had not pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Hutchins. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never,” he said in an interview with ABC News.

He reiterates an environment of safety in the open letter, which is co-signed by a number of cast and crew, including actor Devon Werkheiser who has appeared in a number of productions including an episode of 2 Broke Girls.

“The working morale on set was high. Laughter and optimism were common amongst cast and crew,” Baldwin wrote. “From the director down to the production assistants, all departments worked well together, collaborating and helping each other achieve shared artistic goals.”

Police are currently pursuing new leads on how ammunition came to be in a “cold” prop gun. Jason Bowles, lawyer to film amourer Hannah Gutierrez Read, said last week: “The Sheriff’s Office has taken a huge step forward today to unearth the full truth of who put the live rounds on the Rust set, by executing a search warrant on PDQ Arm & Prop, owned by Armorer-Mentor, Seth Kenney.”