Speed Reads

speaking out

Rust gaffer calls out producers who 'save a dime' by hiring inexperienced crew

Serge Svetnoy, the gaffer on the New Mexico set of Rust who witnessed the accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, wrote in a lengthy Facebook post that her death is "the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism."

Svetnoy wrote on Sunday that several people were careless on set, from the person responsible for checking the prop gun to the person who should have announced there was a loaded gun on site. Svetnoy did not explicitly name Rust's 24-year-old lead armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who oversaw gun safety and usage on set, but did state that the "department that was responsible for the weapons" was not led by a professional.

"There is no way a 24-year-old woman can be a professional with armory; there is no way that her more-or-less the same-aged friend from school, neighborhood, Instagram, or God knows where else, can be a professional in this field," Svetnoy said. He also called out the producers who, "to save a dime sometimes," hire people "who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job, and you risk the lives of the other people who are close and your lives as well."

Hutchins was shot by actor Alec Baldwin during a scene at a church, and a search warrant affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office states that Dave Halls, Rust's assistant director, handed Baldwin the gun, one of three set out by Gutierrez Reed. Halls was fired in 2019 from another film, Freedom's Path, after a gun unexpectedly discharged on set, one of the movie's producers told NBC News.

"Dave was very remorseful for the events and understood the reasons he was being terminated," the producer said. A member of the sound team was injured in the incident.