“Rust” Armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed Issued A Statement Blaming Producers For Unsafe Working Conditions

October 29, 2021 / Posted by:

In the aftermath of the tragic on-set accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (director Joel Souza was injured by the same bullet), it’s become perfectly clear that none of the cast, crew, or production on the Alec Baldwin western Rust can be trusted with actual firearms. And since they’ve all been taken away by the Santa Fe County Sheriff for evidence, including 500 rounds of ammunition, they’re left with only their fingers to point. Already, Alec has twice retweeted articles that state he was told the gun was cold by assistant director Dave Halls. Now head armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed has issued a statement through her lawyer which says she “has no idea where the live rounds came from” and places the blame on production saying “the whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah.” Hannah also says she was overworked and trying to do two jobs and the producers overruled her requests for more training and preparation.

Hannah’s statement didn’t specify what the second job she was hired to do was, but TMZ reports that she was also working as “the key assistant for props.” Hannah says she’s speaking out now to “address some untruths that have been told to the media, which have falsely portrayed her and slandered her.” Here’s what she had to say in her defense:

The lawyers for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed say in a statement, Hannah “is devastated and completely beside herself over the events that have transpired.”

The attorneys go on to say, “Safety is Hannah’s number one priority on the set. Ultimately this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from.”

Her lawyers went on to echo what she told authorities … that the guns were locked up at night and during lunch.

Here’s part of her official statement including her explanation for the two previously reported misfires that occurred on the set of Rust, via Variety:

Hannah still, to this day, has never had an accidental discharge. The first one on this set was the prop master and the second was a stunt man after Hannah informed him his gun was hot with blanks.

Hannah was hired on two positions on this film, which made it extremely difficult to focus on her job as an armorer. She fought for training, days to maintain weapons, and proper time to prepare for gunfire but ultimately was overruled by production and her department. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. This was not the fault of Hannah.

The producers, which so far have manifested as a nebulous blog of suits plus Alec Baldwin, seem to have been cutting more corners than a Detroit-style pizza chef. According to The New York Times, the producers of Rust failed to secure a completion bond “an often-expensive package that serves as a type of umbrella policy should anything horrific happen and the production can’t be completed,” presumably to save money.

“Producers who don’t want to bond are only doing so to save money,” said Randy Greenberg, a producer, film finance consultant and former studio executive. “And it’s the last place where you want to save money.”

I’m sure that if and when criminal charges are filed, we’ll be learning a lot more about who these producers are and who was responsible for what. Here’s what the NYT has to say about where they were on the day the accident occurred.

The “Rust” producers are a rather motley band — a “ragtag group,” as The Hollywood Reporter called them this week. Five of the six were physically on the New Mexico set on the day of the shooting, according to the spokeswoman for the producing team. They were not, however, in the immediate area where Mr. Baldwin was rehearsing when he fired the gun.

In addition to Mr. Baldwin, the producers who were present include Ryan Donnell Smith, who is also president of Streamline Global and an owner of Thomasville Pictures, a Georgia production company.

Two more producers, Nathan Klingher and Ryan Winterstern, who have a company called Short Porch Pictures, have no previous credits as full producers.

The fifth producer on the set was Anjul Nigam, who helped Mr. Baldwin produce “Crown Vic.”

Rounding out the producing team: Matt DelPiano, who was previously Mr. Baldwin’s agent at Creative Artists Agency.

According to the “Rust” call sheet, Gabrielle Pickle was directly managing the set on the day that Mr. Baldwin fired the gun. Ms. Pickle is a line producer, which is a subordinate role but an important one. Line producers are usually involved in hiring and vetting key members of the crew.

As suddenly as Halnya was killed by a gun, it sounds like she was also the victim of a thousand cuts. And that the world now knows her name because of how she died, instead of for being the first woman to win an Academy Award for cinematography, is another tragedy unto itself.

Pic: Instagram/Twitter

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