In October 2021, it was reported that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by a prop gun on the set of the movie “Rust,” and that the “shooter” was none other than the film’s main character, actor, Alec Baldwin. Some of the primary questions asked were how could something like this happen? Why weren’t they using blanks? Why were real bullets allowed on the set? Baldwin, who was holding the gun and pointed it at Hutchins when it discharged and killed her, was immediately held responsible for her death. What ensued after was a back-and-forth blame game of who should be held responsible for the gun having a live bullet and why it was not properly checked.
In an interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin explains that the incident occurred during a “marking rehearsal.” It was during the rehearsal where he claims that Hutchins instructed him on how and where to position the gun for the camera angle – “I let go of the hammer. Bang! The gun goes off.” Baldwin said as he reenacted the scene for Stephanopoulos. He went on to say that he was never meant to pull the trigger but only cock the gun instead. In his most definitive statement throughout the interview, he unequivocally states “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but I know it’s not me.”
Speaking out in his first-ever interview since his tragic loss, Matt Hutchins – husband of Halyna and father to their young son had quite a different take than Baldwin. Placing blame directly on Baldwin for the death of his wife, Matt told TODAY’s Hoda Kotb, “the idea that the person holding the gun and causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me.” After watching Baldwin’s interview with Stephanopoulos, he goes on to say “watching him I just felt so angry. I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her.” He adds “hearing him blame Halyna in the interview and shift responsibility to others and seeing him cry about it – I just feel – are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?”
In February of this year, the Hutchins family filed a lawsuit against Alec Baldwin, alleging that the actor and producer of the film, “violated numerous rules for the safe handling of firearms.” In addition, the suit suggests that Baldwin “committed reckless discharge of a deadly weapon.” According to the New York Post, Baldwin claims that he “isn’t worried about potential criminal action against him,” further saying “it’s highly unlikely I would be charged with anything criminally.”
Filming for “Rust” has been suspended.
Abron’s Hot Take
One thing is clear. All is not well between Alec Baldwin and the family of Halyna Hutchins. Shortly after her death, Alec took both Matt and he and Halyna’s son to dinner and they all attended a memorial service for Halyna as well. Call me naïve, but I figured that would be the end of things. Of course, I didn’t expect Halyna’s family to easily get over their loss; however, filing a lawsuit and Matt’s candid interview speaking out against Alec is what I did not see coming. Here’s the deal, the situation is tragic, and I think we all understand and get that. However, there is always someone to blame, and I knew from the beginning when the story first broke, that that person would be Alec considering he’s the big star attached to the story. I knew that the tears he cried during his interview would be viewed as insincere and “fake,” considering he’s a trained actor. I knew him absolving himself of responsibility would blow back negatively on him for the very reasons Matt stated in his interview.
Obviously, Matt Hutchins thinks the same thing. Alec may have thought that dinner was a gesture to try and show support for the family, but Matt probably saw it as Alec’s way of trying to ensure that the family wouldn’t sue him. He clearly thought wrong. I think Matt is acting in the best interest of his family. He’s clearly devastated by the loss of his wife and as mentioned earlier, needs someone to blame. I truly hope that with time, he and his son can find peace.
How this story ends is yet to be determined. There are still so many questions…will the Hutchins family successfully sue Alec? Will there be a settlement? Will Alec be found guilty in a court of law? Will he face any jail time? So many questions. One thing I know for sure is even if Alec is successful in legal court, he may be essentially done in the court of public opinion. While America does indeed enjoy a comeback story, I don’t yet see how he can bounce back from this. He could even decide to stop acting. I can’t imagine he’d ever feel comfortable on a movie set again. Much less a set containing prop guns. Based on the actions of the Hutchins family, this is only just the beginning for Alec Baldwin.
Britney Spears has signed on to write and release her own tell-all memoir through American publishing company, Simon and Schuster. The deal is estimated to be worth $15 million dollars – the highest book advance since former President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama respectively, signed their book deals with Penguin Random House for an estimated $65 million. This is the first major announcement from the pop star since having her 13-year conservatorship terminated.
According to People magazine, although the conservatorship ended in November 2021, Britney is still facing legal battles – most notably with her father and former conservator, Jamie Spears who’s requesting that his legal fees be paid for by Britney’s estate. Britney responded to the request, alleging that Jamie had “violated California’s standards of conduct with his financial misconduct while acting as her conservator.” Jamie maintains that he’s “only ever had Britney’s best interest at heart during the duration of the conservatorship.”
News of the book deal comes after the release of younger sister Jamie Lynn’s memoir “Things I Should Have Said,” which was released in January of this year. Britney lashed out at the release of the book, saying this in a now-deleted Instagram post “The nerve of you to sell a book now and talk s—t but your f—king lying…..I wish you would take a lie detector test so all these masses of people see you’re lying through your teeth about me !!!! I wish the almighty, Lord would could come down and show this whole world that you’re lying and making money off of me !!!! You are scum, Jamie Lynn.”
At the time of this writing, there is no set release date for the memoir.
Abron’s Hot Take
Well, well, well. The plot thickens. On one end I can’t say I’m too surprised by this considering Britney alluded to one day writing her own book when she posted this picture to her Instagram page and captioned it “Shall I start from THE BEGINNING???” She also said she was “sitting on a vault of stories,” and “Lord have mercy on my family’s souls if I ever do an interview.” So, the announcement that Britney is officially writing a book isn’t exactly “news” to me; however, it gives many people a lot to talk about. Some of the questions I’ve heard thus far are “how detailed will she get?” Do you think she’s going to tell it all?” You can sum up the public interest in this book so far as “we’ll wait and see how it goes.” That’s pretty much all anyone can do at this point.
The conservatorship of Britney Spears will forever go down in pop-culture history as one of the biggest moments in entertainment. Similar to “#Metoo” and “Times Up”, the “Free Britney” movement was dedicated to raising awareness on the abuse of a woman, controlled by those around her, mostly men, and having her voice stolen – so much so that she could no longer advocate for herself. Whether you’re a Britney fan or not (if you’re not, what’s wrong with you. No just kidding ha-ha) you could not ignore this historic moment as many of her fans marched on her behalf, held protests outside of courthouses, and the story was covered on every major news network. The announcement that the conservatorship was officially terminated was definitely a “where were you when” kind of moment.
But with that said, I have to be honest here. I would rather Britney have done an exclusive two or three-part candid interview in the style of 20/20 or with mother Oprah ala Meghan Markle, where she discusses the abuse she suffered as a result of her father being her conservator and taking advantage of her mental health issues and finances. At this point, tell-all books are so common and most likely written by ghostwriters, that you can’t really decipher what’s real or what’s drudged up for entertainment or dramatic effect. I think an interview, in person and unfiltered, would have been the better and “stronger” approach. But there’s always the audiobook version if she reads it herself.
In any case, I’m glad that Britney has been “freed” from her conservatorship and I’m sure once the book is released, it’ll be the hottest topic on the internet. The press tour will be insane that’s for sure.
You may have already heard but Brad Pitt has sued his ex-wife, Angelina Jolie for selling her stake in their French Winery, Château Miraval. According to People magazine, the two Hollywood powerhouses bought the winery back in 2008 where they later married in 2014. Originally, Pitt, 58, owned 60 percent of the business while Jolie, 46, owned 40 percent. In 2013, the shares were split 50/50 for both parties. In the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Pitt claims that Jolie “consummated the purported sale without Pitt’s knowledge, denying Pitt the consent right she owed him and the right of first refusal her business entity owed his.”
Jolie declared back in January 2021, she could “no longer maintain any ownership position in the business given her personal objections.” She was cleared to sell her shares of the estate after the finalization of her divorce from Pitt. The strenuous ongoing divorce battle hindered her from being able to sell previously. Pitt was in negotiations to buy back her shares. Angelina filed for divorce from Brad in 2016 and the two have since endured a grueling custody battle over their six kids.
Abron’s Hot Take
There just doesn’t seem to be a happy ending in sight for these two. It’s bad enough that their relationship started under dubious circumstances due to allegations that Brad had started an affair with Angelina while they were filming “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” and he was still legally married to Jennifer Aniston at the time. But as time passed and the public began to love them as a couple, giving them the celeb name “Brangelina,” the two seemed happy. Brad adopted Angelina’s son Maddox, the two started to adopt and have more children of their own, and then they finally married. What could go wrong right?
Apparently, a lot as we learned that Brad struggled with alcoholism, and then there were allegations of child neglect and abuse (towards older son Maddox) that led Angelina to officially file for divorce. Since then, these two have been at war with each other and we, the public have had a front-row seat to the madness. First, the divorce which was filed in 2016, wasn't officially granted until 2019. As of now, they're both undergoing a custody battle for their six kids (these kids will all be adults by the time an agreement is reached), and now this lawsuit.
In the case of the lawsuit, I see both sides. I can understand Brad’s frustration if he in fact was negotiating to buy Angelina’s shares of the estate and then she sold them right from under his nose with no warning. That does seem spiteful. However, if Angelina was cleared to sell her shares to whomever she wanted, I don’t see how Brad has the right to sue her for that. Especially if she never clarified that her shares would be sold to him directly. You would think he would just reach out to the buyer of her shares and try and buy them back. That seems like a quick fix to me rather than drag the mother of your children back into court over something so frivolous. At this point, their divorce, custody battle, and business dealings are lasting longer than the marriage. It’s clear that communication between these two is dead. But for the sake of their children, I would advise them to handle their business more discretely because this is not the way to do it. No one comes out as a winner in this, and the children most likely have to endure the consequences of it all.
Brad and Angelina…please do better. Your children along with the public are watching.
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