Opinion: The New Mexico Environment Department Has Issued a Complaint against the Production Company behind 'Rust'

Daniella Cressman

There was an accidental murder on the set of 'Rust': Alec Baldwin did not realize he was holding a loaded gun since it was a rehearsal and he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins as a result.

Now, the New Mexico Environment Department has issued a complaint against the film company behind the low-budget movie.

"The state Environment Department has issued a formal administrative complaint against the film company behind actor-producer Alec Baldwin’s Rust movie production." —Robert Nott

The complaint was filed after the production company appealed the New Mexico Environment Department's April citation.

"The department filed the complaint after the Rust company appealed the department’s April citation that imposed the most severe workplace violation and a maximum fine of nearly $137,000 following an investigation into the October shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins...Rust producers have 15 days to respond to the complaint, after which time the Occupational Health and Safety Review Commission will schedule a hearing." —Matthew Maez (spokesperson for the New Mexico Environment Department)

The director of the film—Joel Souza—was severely injured.

The complaint is being filed to hold the production accountable for a dangerous workplace and negligence when it came to safety procedures.

"In a news release, the Environment Department said it was issuing the complaint to hold the production company 'accountable for a workplace fatality and a serious injury in the workplace' and to assess further civil penalties. As with the previous citation, the complaint included the results of the investigation, which began in late October and continued through early April, and included interviews with 14 employees of the ill-fated production. Among other findings, the investigation report said the production company 'demonstrated plain indifference to the hazards associated with firearms' on the set and failed to follow proper firearm safety practices. The report said those in charge of the production took no corrective or disciplinary action after two previously reported firearms mishaps took place on the set. It includes text messages among employees talking about 'guns jamming' because of a lack of readiness." —Robert Nott

It's devastating that an ambitious, talented, and innocent woman died while she was at work, following her passion. She did nothing wrong.

Halyna Hutchins was only 42.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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