Hollywood star Alec Baldwin has filed an arbitration demand against his fellow ‘Rust’ producers, saying he shouldn’t be held financially responsible for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’ death.
Court documents obtained by ‘Entertainment Tonight’ state “this is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin.”
Baldwin, who is among the defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Halyna’s family, said he wasn’t “reckless” on the set, having previously denied pulling the trigger on the gun, and blamed armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls for telling him the weapon didn’t have live rounds, and also mentioned Seth Kenney, who had supplied the ammunition for the movie, reports femalefirst.co.uk.
The arbitration demand sent to producers stated: “Immediately before the handoff to Baldwin, upon information and belief, Halls had taken the gun off a prop 2 cart after it had been loaded by the set’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the person responsible for gun safety and managing the operation of firearm-related props on the set.
“Reed claims to have personally checked all of the rounds to ensure that they weren’t ‘hot’ and then loaded them into the pistol. Halls ‘later told an investigator that, after (Reed) opened the gun for him to inspect, he did not check all of the rounds as he should have before he handed it to … Baldwin…
“At this point, two things are clear: someone is culpable for chambering the live round that led to this horrific tragedy, and it is someone other than Baldwin.
“Baldwin is an actor. He didn’t announce that the gun was ‘cold’ when it really contained a live round; he didn’t load the gun; he didn’t check the bullets in the gun; he didn’t purchase the bullets; he didn’t make the bullets and represent that they were dummies; he wasn’t in charge of firearm safety on the set; he didn’t hire the people who supplied the bullets or checked the gun; and he played no role in managing the movie’s props. Each of those jobs was performed by someone else.”
The star dismissed reports he had refused weapons training on the set, with his lawyer highlighting e-mail correspondece with ‘Rust’s costume designer, showing his had requested gun training long before the film started, and ultimately had a 90-minute session with Hutchins, who reminded him of weapon safety measures, including reassuring him it was “her job” to check the guns.
Alec said he returned $100,000 of his $250,000 fee for the movie but had wanted to complete the film to honour Halyna and also took it upon himself to “provide (the Hutchins family) redress for their loss.”
The documents stated: “The proposed settlement for Hutchins included a component of insurance proceeds.
“In addition, Baldwin made an exhaustive effort to contact the Rust cast in the hope of acquiring their support to finish the film. He did so both with the intent of honouring Halyna’s legacy by completing her last work and of compensating Hutchins and his son from the film’s profits. Depending on the success of Rust upon its completion and release, this additional component of the settlement would likely have equaled millions of dollars.”
The submission also included copies of text messages between Baldwin and Huthins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins and although Halyna’s widower recently claimed he was angered watching the actor’s interview on the tragedy on ABC, the actor’s lawyer claimed they had a friendly exchange two weeks later.
The documents stated: “On December 17, over two weeks after Baldwin’s interview with Stephanopoulos had aired on ABC, Baldwin sent a text message to Hutchins in light of the upcoming holidays, writing, ‘In spite of the anguish of all of this, I am wishing you and your son a happy holiday.’
“Hutchins responded – again, more than two weeks after the interview – stating, ‘I genuinely hope you and the whole family can get together and have moments of fun, love, and togetherness and that it is a healing time for everyone.'”
The actor is seeking to “indemnify, defend, and hold harmless” himself and his production company El Dorado Pictures from any liability and is seeking to have his legal fees covered.
Matthew’s attorney, Brian Panish, has accused the actor of “trying to avoid liability and accountability for his reckless actions before and on Oct 21st that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins.”
He added in a statement: “Baldwin’s disclosure of personal texts with Matt Hutchins is irrelevant to his demand for arbitration and fails to demonstrate anything other than Hutchins’ dignity in his engagement with Baldwin.
“It is shameful that Baldwin claims Hutchins’ actions in filing a wrongful death lawsuit derailed the completion of ‘Rust.’ The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins.”