Rust Movie Productions, the company behind the troubled western whose cameraman was killed, has settled with New Mexico’s Health and Safety Bureau.
As part of the deal, the New Mexico Environment Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau agreed to downgrade the manufacturing listing from “intentionally serious” to “serious” and reduce the fine imposed from the $136,793 maximum to $100,000, Rust Movie Productions said Friday.
“Our top priority has always been to resume production and complete this film so that we can honor the life and work of Halyna Hutchins,” said Melina Spadone, senior counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and attorney for Rust Movie Productions. “Settling this case rather than litigating is the best way for us to move forward to achieve that goal.”
The settlement ends a battle with the government agency after the film’s managers showed “plain indifference” to worker safety after actor Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed cameraman Hutchins during an October 2021 rehearsal, authorities said. Director Joel Souza was also injured.
The agency said procedures were not followed on set and management failed to review work practices and take corrective action.
Rust Productions had denied the allegations of wrongdoing. The production plans to resume filming in Montana this spring.
On Thursday, Baldwin pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in New Mexico.
The film’s gunsmith, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was also charged with involuntary manslaughter and has denied wrongdoing. She made her first virtual appearance in a court in Santa Fe on Friday. Gutierrez Reed’s attorney Jason Bowles pleaded for her to have a gun in her home for protection after her personal information was made public during the investigation, he said.
“Miss Gutierrez Reed then had numerous threats, telephone threats. She had voicemails that were very, very, very bad,” Bowles said. “She had a stalker so she had to get a restraining order.”
New Mexico’s first judicial dist. Attention. Mary Carmack-Altwies argued that Gutierrez Reed should not have access to guns because of her “sloppy mishandling” of guns on the set of “Rust”, an allegation Bowles denied.
“It is not claimed that she is a danger to anyone who has a firearm in their home,” Bowles countered.
The court agreed and granted Gutierrez Reed the right to a gun for self-defense. Under other conditions for release, she is not allowed to have contact with witnesses.
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