‘Rust’ Producer Attempts to Distance Itself From Shooting, Claims It Wasn’t an Employer

Rust shooting sees producers deny liability

(Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

The Rust shooting is continuing to be a minefield, as the production company behind the film have claimed that the fault is in the hands of contractors.

As the production company (aptly named Rust Movie Productions) continue to front the New Mexico workplace health and safety agency, they have argued that they cannot be held liable for the shooting as the armorer was not part of the production’s staff. Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed was a contract worker who they deem to be responsible for all things safety with firearms, with a producer telling the agency she was “singularly responsible”.

“Singularly responsible for all tasks associated with the use of firearms and ammunition, […] ensuring that RMP’s express prohibition against the presence of live ammunition was strictly followed, ensuring that only blanks were used when called for by the script, and that only dummy rounds were used.”

The Santa Fe County district attorney’s verdict on whether or not criminal charges should be filed for the shooting are expected in October. The shooting left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead, and the director Joel Souza wounded. One of the other big factors of this case is whether or not Alec Baldwin can be held responsible for the deaths, with him the one to fire the prop gun that had been loaded with live ammo.

The producers of Rust still believe their film will be completed, with an interview as recently as May 2022 suggesting it’s full steam ahead. The release of the film will likely hinge heavily on the results of the investigations into the shooting and any potential criminal charges.

The production company was fined $137,000 by New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Bureau in April 2022 for the shooting, with an investigation finding “plain indifference” to safety on the set in Bonanza Creek Ranch.

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