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Alec Baldwin shares letter from ‘Rust’ crew disputing claims of ‘chaotic’ set

“While it is true that a few crew members quit prior to the accident, the vast majority of us remained, never feeling the need to protest or quit,” the letter said.
/ Source: TODAY

Alec Baldwin shared a two-part letter signed by some members of the “Rust” cast and crew on his Instagram page Thursday that disputes claims the film set was “unprofessional” or “chaotic.”

“This letter is written on behalf of the cast and crew of the film production, Rust,” the message began. “It has not been sanctioned or influenced in any way by the producers.” 

The letter said the “public narrative” following the tragic news that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot while filming the Western movie “Rust” on Oct. 21 has been “inadequate.”

“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,” they wrote. 

While the cast and crew acknowledge that it is common in the film industry to work on “unprofessional or hectic productions,” they deny that “Rust” created this type of environment and called the workplace “professional.”  

They added, “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and distract from what matters the most: the memory of Halyna Hutchins, and the need to find modern alternatives to outdated industry firearm and safety practices.”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 letter also addressed reports that some crew members quit before the fatal shooting occurred, however, they said “the vast majority” continued working. “Those disgruntled few do not represent the views of all of us,” they wrote. 

In the lengthy message, “Rust” was described as having “fair” working hours, wages that were “consistent with expectations,” and “standard” 12-hour days. 

“Housing was provided as required by the union. Payments were made, generally on time, and amounts were as agreed to, per individual or department deals,” they wrote.

Baldwin included the second part of the letter in a separate post. After detailing the high morale on set and praising Hutchins inspirational work ethic. “The days were scheduled tightly, but appropriately. We were keeping pace, not falling behind schedule,” they added. 

Toward the end of the letter, they called themselves “professionals in every department’’ and added, “Please do not allow a few disgruntled employees to affect your view of the rest of us.”

Although he uploaded the message, Baldwin’s name was not included in the list of cast and crew members at the end of the letter. The signers were David Stevens, Bryan Norvelle, Terese Davis, Thomas Gandy, Roman Gandy, Anna Williams, Monica Spendlove, Stacy Lockhart, Katya Luce, Devon Werkheiser, Tim Barrera, Emily Hayes, Jaden Potts, Jiji Hise, Cathy Harrison, Daniel Ornitz, Nicole Montoya, Luke Hussack, Chee Ho, Joe Heise, Emily Price, Matt Hemmer, Imani Caldwell, Isabel Langdale and Sweet Pea Kadis.

Hutchins, 42, was killed on the “Rust” set after being wounded by a prop gun Baldwin was holding. 

NBC News learned that “multiple previous misfires” of the same prop gun that killed Hutchins caused multiple crew members to walk off the set hours prior to the tragedy. 

Lane Luper, the A-camera first assistant, was one of the “Rust” crew members who resigned a day before Hutchins was shot. In a resignation email obtained and reviewed by NBC News, he wrote, “So far there have been 2 accidental weapons discharges and 1 accidental SFX explosives that have gone off around the crew between takes… To be clear there are NO safety meetings these days.”

Luper addressed other problems on set, such as issues with pay, relaxed COVID-19 protocols and disagreements with production over housing and working hours as well. 

During an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulous that aired Dec. 2, Baldwin said, “There’s only one question to be resolved, only one, and that is where did the live round come from?”

He also insisted that he did not pull the trigger. The actor said in the scene rehearsal he was supposed to draw his gun, raise it, “and start to cock the pistol — cut.” 

Baldwin said he was following directions from Hutchins and pulled the hammer back as far as he could without cocking it.

“I’m just showing her, I go, ‘How about that? Does that work? Do you see that?’ ... She said, ‘yeah, that’s good,’” Baldwin recalled. “I let go of the hammer — bang, the gun goes off.”

The actor, who said he was told the gun was empty and he was certain it was, explained, “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.” 

Although he said it is unlikely he will ever appear in a movie that features a gun again, Baldwin said he does not feel guilt. 

“I feel that someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is,” he said. “But I know it’s not me.”

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, but no one has been arrested or criminally charged in connection with the shooting. 

Legal analyst Lisa Green stopped by TODAY on Dec. 3 and revealed if she thought there would be criminal charges against anyone involved in the case. 

“The standard’s so high because you need criminal intent,” Green explained to TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie. “I’m guessing no.”