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NM Gives 'Rust' Maximum Fine In Cinematographer Shooting Death

Alec Baldwin's ill-fated movie "Rust" was hit Wednesday with the maximum possible fine by New Mexico safety officials for violations on the set that contributed to the death of a cinematographer, USA Today reports. A report by the state Occupational Health and Safety Bureau blasted "Rust" producers for "plain indifference" and noted they "willfully violated" known industry safety protocols, imposing a nearly l$137,000 fine for firearms safety failures. During a hasty rehearsal last October, actor and producer Baldwin discharged a replica Colt that killed 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza. The report indicates that the young armorer on the set, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was not given the chance to perform her job. Reed was not in the church on the Old West set when the gun was handed to Baldwin and then went off.

"Rust did not provide staff responsible for ensuring firearms safety with sufficient time to inspect ammunition received to ensure that no live rounds were present," the report said. "What we had, based on our investigators' findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management's failure to act upon those obvious hazards," said Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety. The report is likely to factor into ongoing litigation, experts say. "While we appreciate OSHA's time and effort in its investigation, we disagree with its findings and plan to appeal," said production spokesperson Stefan Friedman. Any appeal would be heard by the state's occupational health and safety commission.


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