Alec Baldwin took the unusual step for a public figure of protecting his Twitter account Tuesday amid growing criticism over his and his wife’s use of social media to comment on the fallout of the actor’s fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Baldwin’s Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation account showed Tuesday that its tweets were now protected, potentially meaning that he and his wife can view and control who sees his tweets. Baldwin apparently changed the privacy setting around the same time he used his Instagram account Tuesday to hit back at reports that allege there were a number of safety concerns on the set of his Western film, “Rust,” prior to Hutchins’ Oct. 21 death.
Baldwin shared a lengthy, detailed Facebook message from “Rust” costume designer Terese Magpale Davis, who said she was “sick” of the narrative “being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions,” Yahoo reported.
Davis said those claims are “bull—” and slammed crew members who walked off the set over safety and financial issues. She also said “concerns were heard and addressed” and defended producers for being “approachable” and “warm.”
As Baldwin’s shared Davis’s post Tuesday, lawyers representing the film’s head armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, 24, on Wednesday suggested that those disgruntled camera crew members may have wanted to “sabotage” the film by walking off the set hours before Hutchens’ death to protest their working conditions.
“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove point, want to say that they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Gutierrez Reed’s lawyer Jason Bowles told the Today show Wednesday.
Baldwin, 63, was both the star and one of the producers of the low-budget independent movie being filmed on a ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. The veteran film and TV star was rehearsing a gunfight scene, when he pointed a .45 Long Colt revolver in the direction of Hutchins and director Joel Souza. The revolver discharged a suspected live round, killing Hutchins, 42, and wounding Souza, 48.
In sharing Davis’ post, Baldwin risks angering Santa Fe County investigators, after the actor said he was told to not discuss the case, according to TMZ. “While Alec himself isn’t providing this account of the ‘Rust’ set … he’s at the very least cosigning on it by reposting, which could tick off investigators,” TMZ said.
Since the shooting, Baldwin, his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and their six young children have retreated from their homes in New York City and the Hamptons to the upscale ski town of Manchester, Vermont, where the actor and his influencer wife said they wanted to keep a low profile so that he could “mourn.”
Instead, the Baldwins have been followed by the paparazzi, and the couple, both active and often controversial users of Instagram, have returned to using social media, giving select interviews. Hilaria Baldwin also shared photos of their family’s Halloween celebration and the family’s “upset” about their temporarily lost cat.
PR crisis management experts told this news organization that they would tell Baldwin and his wife to not say or do too much for public consumption right now, not when he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, faces the likelihood of a wrongful death lawsuit and tries to navigate a devastating personal and professional situation.
Baldwin has long been outspoken on social media, sparking controversies that have led him to temporarily quit Twitter in the past. After Hutchins’ death, he initially seemed to understand a need to show care with his public comments. On Oct. 22, he issued a brief, heartfelt statement, in which called Hutchins’ death “a tragic accident.”
“There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours,” Baldwin wrote.
Since then, and despite saying he had been told by Santa Fe County authorities to not discuss the case, Baldwin has used social media and an impromptu press conference with paparazzi Saturday to push the narrative that he’s in no way responsible for Hutchins’ death. He also wants people to know that her death wasn’t the result of lax oversight by people overseeing the production.
He has tweeted out links to two news stories that appear to place the blame on the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls.
The day after the shooting, Baldwin shared a link to a story that reported that he was told by Halls that the gun was safe to use. Then, last week, he retweeted a New York Times story, which cited information in a newly released affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office, Yahoo reported. The story reported that Halls told a detective that he should have inspected each round in each chamber of the prop gun, but he did not.
In talking to paparazzi Saturday, Baldwin called Hutchins his “friend.” He also sounded a bit defensive as he insisted that he and the production team oversaw a safe, professional set. “We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened,” Baldwin said.
The press conference also was marked by Hilaria Baldwin’s angry, glowering presence, during which the former yoga instructor paced around, made a show of lashing out at the photographers and recording them, and repeatedly attempting to insert herself into the conversation.
Critics, including New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan, have accused Hilaria Baldwin of using social media in a “sickening” bid for sympathy for her husband and herself. Critics have long said that Hilaria has always tried to seek the limelight to boost her career as a yoga teacher, lifestyle guru and mom podcaster, including by falsely presenting herself as a “half-Spanish” immigrant. Now they say she’s using her attention-seeking ways to push the narrative that her husband is not responsible for Hutchins’ death, while also trying to make “the tragedy about her.”
On Saturday, Hilaria Baldwin gave an exclusive interview to the New York Post, expressing concern that the grief-stricken “30 Rock” star would develop PTSD, like “soldiers and police officers when something like this happens.”
Hilaria Baldwin also positioned herself as her husband’s chief defender and caretaker, telling the Post: “He needs space for me to take care of him and his mental health. It’s an awful thing that happened. Alec feels awful.”
The Baldwins faced even more criticism on Sunday when Hilaria Baldwin posted happy family Halloween portraits. One showed a smiling Baldwin in a costume inspired by “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Hilaria Baldwin captioned the photos: “Parenting through this has been an intense experience, to say the least. Today, we rallied to give them a holiday.”
Hilaria Baldwin’s statement about her “intense” parenting experience prompted The Post’s Callahan to write: “Really? Hilaria may want to talk to Halyna Hutchins’ widower about what it’s been like parenting their young son ‘through this intense experience,’ his mother shot to death on a movie set.”
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