Alec Baldwin took some time out of a film festival celebration of cinema and his Hollywood career Saturday night to suggest that he, too, was a victim of the “Rust” shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and to imply that he’s being sued by greedy people who only care about money, not the truth of “what really happened.”
As the cinephile audience at the Boulder International Film Festival was probably aware, Baldwin was holding the gun that killed Hutchins on the set of “Rust,” an indie Western he was producing and starring in.
While the “30 Rock” star is facing a police investigation and lawsuits over whether he should be held criminally or civilly liable, he used an onstage conversation as a special guest of the festival to describe himself as one of the casualties of the Oct. 21 tragedy. He also asserted that he’s being sued by litigants going after rich people with “deep pockets.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the festival’s moderator opened the floor to Baldwin, who “launched into a lengthy and somewhat fragmented statement about there being just “two victims” in the Rust shooting.
“From the beginning, from the moment this happened, everybody has put out — besides all the anguish and the suffering, horrible feelings we have and, of course, there are two victims and nobody else is a victim, so to speak — we have dealt with a situation where specific people are not as interested in finding out what really happened,” Baldwin told the festival audience, according to THR.
Baldwin continued: “What you have is a certain group of litigants on whatever side, whose attitude is, well, the people who likely seem negligent have enough money. And the people who have money are not negligent, but we’re not gonna let that stop us from doing what we need to do in terms of litigation.”
“Why sue people if you’re not going to get money? That’s what you’re doing,” Baldwin added.
One of the people suing Baldwin is Matt Hutchins, the grief-stricken husband of Halyna Hutchins and the father of Hutchins’ 9-year-old son Andros. In a “Today” show interview last month, Matt Hutchins joined a growing chorus of critics who say that Baldwin has shamelessly and insensitively used interviews, public appearances and social media to deny responsibility for the shooting and portraying himself as a victim.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 24, 2022
Matt Hutchins said it was infuriating and painful to watch Baldwin go on ABC News in early December and detail how he was holding the gun that killed his wife of 16 years – but then say he was in no way responsible. Baldwin told George Stephanopoulos he felt no guilt about what happened and said: “Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can’t say who that is, but it’s not me.”
“Watching him I just felt so angry,” Hutchins told “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb about watching Baldwin’s interview with Stephanopoulos. “I was just so angry to see him talk to her about her death from her so publicly in such a detailed way and then to not accept any responsibility from her after having just described killing her.”
Hutchins said Baldwin’s comments “crystallized” his anger. He specifically called out Baldwin for trying to blame his wife for being in the line of fire. Baldwin told Stephanopolous that, while rehearsing a gunfight scene, Halyna Hutchins had asked him to point the gun off camera and toward her arm just before it fired.
“And hearing him blame Halyna in the interview and shift responsibility to others and seeing him cry about it. I just feel — are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?” Hutchins said. He also expressed incredulity over Baldwin’s now infamous claims that he didn’t pull the trigger.
According to a search warrant filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office as part of an ongoing investigation, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed loaded the gun, while assistant director Dave Halls told Baldwin that the gun was safe to use. Somehow a live round ended up in the gun and when it was fired, the round struck and killed Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza.
Last month, the Hutchins family filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Baldwin and other producers and crew members “responsible for the safety on set and whose reckless behavior” led to Halyna Hutchins’ death. Script supervisor Mamie Mitchell, who originally called 911 following the shooting, also filed suit against Baldwin in November and is claiming assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and deliberate infliction of harm.
Immediately after the shooting, Baldwin enjoyed an outpouring of public goodwill from people who believed that the veteran film and TV star had been inadvertently caught up in a tragic accident. Celebrity friends, fans and even his usual critics expressed sympathy for how devastated he must feel.
But within weeks of the shooting, Baldwin began trying to shift blame to others. He and his influencer wife, Hilaria Baldwin, have also been criticized for trying to make themselves the focus of sympathy, including by using their children “as props” in social media posts.
Hilaria Baldwin told a news outlet that Baldwin was suffering from PTSD, and both she and her husband have posted numerous social media photos of their children to themselves as dedicated parents, trying to do their best to help their family portray a crisis.
Late last week, Hilaria Baldwin announced that she was taking a social media break, but she made an appearance at the film festival Saturday night by phone. She called in while Baldwin was on stage, saying she was at home doing a cat puzzle, according to Boulder Daily Camera photographer Cliff Grassmick.
Photos: Alec Baldwin at the 2022 Boulder International Film Festival https://t.co/t6CNol4UdN
— Cliff Grassmick (@cliffpix) March 6, 2022
During the panel discussion, Baldwin argued that the film industry has a long and strong safety record compared to other industries, THR reported. He asked the audience to “think of all the billions of rounds of ammunition that were fired on movie and TV sets in the last 75 years and four people have died” and then “compare that record to the opioid industry, the airline industry, the automobile industry, the gun industry itself.”
Baldwin also explained how long-established safety protocols on film and TV sets have created a chain of command when it comes to how weapons are handled for action scenes, THR reported. I have disputed arguments made by gun safety experts and other stars like George Clooney, who say that anyone handling a gun, including an actor in a TV or movie scene, has a responsibility to make sure a gun is safe to use.
Baldwin acknowledged that checking could “be done with” an actor, but that all his career he’s “been without incidents,” THR said.
“When someone whose job it is to ensure the safety of the weapon hands someone else whose job was to be the secondary layer of protection for safety and they hand it over to and you declare that that weapon is safe — that’s how I’ve lived my whole life,” Baldwin said. “I’ve relied on the safety experts there to declare the gun is safe and hand me the gun. Never had a problem.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism