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New Mexico fines Rust movie producers for gun safety failures after Halyna Hutchins death

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New Mexico workplace safety regulators have issued the maximum possible fine against the producers of Rust after the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins last year.

An investigation has found that the production company, Rust Movie Productions, knew safety procedures were not being followed during the filming of the western.

Hutchins died in October 2021 after being shot by a gun operated by Alec Baldwin while on set. Baldwin said in a December interview with ABC News that he was pointing the gun at Hutchins at her instruction when it went off without his pulling the trigger.

New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau concluded that Rust Movie Productions must pay $139,793 (£107,076) and detailed a series of safety failures in violation of standard industry protocols.

The investigation includes a testimony that production managers took limited or no action to address on-set misfires on two separate occasions prior to the fatal shooting.

Alec Baldwin, shortly after the incident in New Mexico last October (AP)
Alec Baldwin, shortly after the incident in New Mexico last October (AP)

“What we had, based on our investigators’ findings, was a set of obvious hazards to employees regarding the use of firearms and management’s failure to act upon those obvious hazards,” Bob Genoway, bureau chief for occupational safety, said.

The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that were left unconsidered and said weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.

Rust Movie Productions said through a spokesperson that it would dispute the findings and sanction. “While we appreciate OSHA's time and effort in its investigation, we disagree with its findings and plan to appeal," said Stefan Friedman. Any appeal would be heard initially by the state's occupational health and safety board.

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