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.
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