Following the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” one crew member is taking legal action against key figures in the case.
Chief electrician Serge Svetnoy is suing the film’s producers (which include actor Alec Baldwin, who shot Hutchins), armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls for negligence, which caused emotional distress, according to Rolling Stone.
The lawsuit alleges that Halls did not follow the proper safety protocols before shouting that the gun was “cold,” meaning that there are no live rounds in a firearm, the outlet reported.
Baldwin is faulted for not verifying the gun’s safety on his own. Furthermore, the lawsuit points out that the scene they were filming at the time reportedly did not need a gun, The New York Times reported.
“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 that revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity,” the lawsuit states, according to Rolling Stone.
Svetnoy is also blaming Gutierrez-Reed and the production team for not having multiple armorers on set to ensure that everything was done safely.
“Each of the producer defendants knew, or certainly should have known, that injury or death was substantially certain to occur if the armorer and prop manager they hired to oversee and manage the firearms and ammunition did not or could not properly and safely discharge their duties and responsibilities per industry standards,” the lawsuit reads.
The suit explains that the bullet reportedly barely missed Svetnoy and that he was the main person responsible for caring for Hutchins in the immediate aftermath of the fatal shooting.
He vented his frustrations in a Facebook post last month about the situation, in which he doubled down on the “unprofessionalism” that may have led to the death of Hutchins and the injury of director Joel Souza.
“Yes, I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza. I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands,” he said.
“I want to tell my opinion on why this has happened. I think I have the right to do it. It’s the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism,” he continued. “The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it. And the DEATH OF THE HUMAN IS THE RESULT!”
Later in the post, he seemingly took a jab at the producers for hiring Gutierrez-Reed.
“To save a dime sometimes, you hire people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well.”
Svetnoy is right to sue for the incident because it seems clear that there are grounds for the accidental death being the result of ignorance. If his post is any indication, he now has an unimaginable level of trauma.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 8, 2021
If the producers were less focused on expediency, Hutchins would likely still be here today.
Tragic accidents like this one need to be used as a moment of reflection for everybody involved, and an opportunity to make improvements within the entertainment industry as a whole.
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