Actor Alec Baldwin and Producers of ‘Rust’ Sued Over Fatal Shooting of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
November 11, 2021 Updated: November 11, 2021

Actor Alec Baldwin is being sued by a crew member on the film “Rust” following the fatal on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last month.

Hutchins, 42, was fatally shot on Oct. 21 when Baldwin, 63, pointed a .45 Long Colt revolver in the direction of Hutchins and director Joel Souza while rehearsing a gunfight scene. The revolver discharged a suspected live round, killing Hutchins and wounding Souza, 48.

The film’s head of lighting, Serge Svetnoy, is suing the actor and producers of the movie, accusing them of “general negligence,” in a lawsuit (pdf), filed on Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

“This incident was caused by the negligent acts and omissions of defendants, and each of them, as well as their agents, principles and employers,” the lawsuit reads.

“Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver or to be present anywhere on the Rust set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity.”

The lawsuit goes on to accuse the defendants, among other acts of negligence, of failing to implement and maintain industry standards for custody and control over firearms used on the set, allowing real bullets to be used, and failing to properly inspect the firearm that was used before passing it to Baldwin, instead allowing it to be loaded with a live bullet.

It also accused defendants of failing to hire a “competent and experienced” armorer for the movie and of observing basic gun safety practices on the set.

Svetnoy gave an emotional account of the incident in the lawsuit, referring to Hutchins as a close friend and explaining how the bullet had narrowly missed him.

Svetnoy said he had held the cinematographer in his arms for 30 minutes as “her consciousness faded” and was “overcome with emotion, shock, grief, trauma, and anxiety” before Hutchins eventually passed away.

The lawsuit is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory and general damages against each of the defendants.

Halyna Hutchins
Halyna Hutchins at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 20, 2017. (Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)

Last week, attorneys representing the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed alleged that a “disgruntled and unhappy” individual may have intended to “sabotage” the set by replacing dummy rounds of ammunition with live rounds.

Speaking on NBC’s “Today” show, attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence, who represent the 24-year-old armorer, explained that there was a box of bullets on the set that should have contained only dummy rounds that Gutierrez Reed “should have been able to rely on,” and pulled from to load the gun.

Bowles said he believes it was possible that a third party may have put a live round in the box, and that they “had to have had the purpose of sabotaging the set” when doing so, but noted that this is just one of the theories he and Gorence are currently exploring.

“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Bowles said. “And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before and they were unhappy.”

“We have a time frame between 11 [a.m.] and 1 [p.m.], approximately, that day, in which the firearms at times were unattended, so there was opportunity to tamper with this scene,” the attorney added.

The Epoch Times hasn’t verified Bowles’s claims that firearms were left unattended on set during that time period.

Lane Luper, the former head of the movie’s camera department, told “Good Morning America” on Nov. 3 that he quit production the day before the shooting occurred, citing firearms safety concerns and delays in pay, among other issues.

“In my 10 years as a camera assistant, I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew,” Luper wrote in his resignation letter, some of which was aired on GMA.

On Twitter, Baldwin has reposted comments made by a costume designer on the set who claimed that concerns were “met and addressed and that several safety meetings took place.”

Producers have also doubled-down on claims that safety was a priority on set and have refuted Luper’s claims.

“Mr. Luper’s allegations around budget and safety are patently false, which is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to do with, or knowledge of, safety protocols or budgets. As we continue to cooperate with all investigations, we are limited in what we can say,” producers said in a statement to ABC News. “However, safety is always the No. 1 priority on our films, and it is truly awful to see some using this tragedy for personal gain.”

Officials investigating the fatal shooting haven’t ruled out charges for anyone involved.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.