Members of the cast and crew of “Rust” released a letter on Thursday saying the descriptions of the film set as a “chaotic, dangerous, and exploitative workplace are false” and distract from the tragic death of director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, and the need to reform “outdated industry firearm and safety practices.”
The letter, signed by 25 people, was posted to Alec Baldwin’s Instagram account with the caption “From some of the crew of RUST.”
“The working morale on set was high. Laughter and optimism were common amongst cast and crew. From the director down to the production assistants, all departments worked well together, collaborating and helping each other achieve shared artistic goals. We were aware that we were producing good work; capturing beautiful imagery and great performances, and we were proud to be doing so,” the letter read.
Tim Barrera, second assistant director, told CNN this letter “was a group effort that was completely independent of any outside entity” and that “the reason we hadn’t spoken to anybody about our experience is because we felt we needed a unified front.”
“We are supporting each other and cooperating with investigators,” the letter read. “We kindly request that your speculation and generalizations about us and our colleagues be sympathetic until an investigation is concluded.”
The letter acknowledges that some crew members had issues with the production and quit before Hutchins’ death, but “the vast majority of us remained, never feeling the need to protest or quit. We were enjoying our workplace. Those disgruntled few do not represent the views of all of us,” it continued.
Barrera said he signed the letter and said all people listed on it participated in drafting or agreed to put their names on the letter themselves.
Asked to respond to the letter, a lawyer for Serge Svetnoy, a gaffer on the film who is suing Baldwin and other producers for negligence, said, “Many people on the set who were hard working crew members were unaware of the serious safety violations occurring on the Rust set on a daily basis. Alec Baldwin, as the producer, knew or should have known of the unsafe conditions. Further, he was the one who pointed the gun at another human being and dropped the hammer firing the fatal shot. He cannot escape responsibility.”
Baldwin fired a weapon on set on October 21 that contained what investigators called a suspected live round, killing cinematographer Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, 48. Baldwin has said he believed the gun did not have live rounds in it, according to court documents.
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