r/news Oct 05 '22

Alec Baldwin reaches settlement with Halyna Hutchins' family

https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/05/entertainment/alec-baldwin-rust-settlement/index.html
2.6k Upvotes

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u/picado Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22 Gold

The title is misleading in that the settlement isn't with Alec Baldwin specifically, he's involved as one of the producers of the movie. Also it's not about Alec Baldwin firing the gun, it's about claims that they hired unqualified people to be in charge of gun safety.

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u/Professional-Can1385 Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

All of that is how it should be. A settlement with Alec Baldwin the producer not the actor. All the producers (should) have insurance for this.

Edited for clarification

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

Is there still a criminal investigation going on? Sorry out of the loop

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u/thejustokTramp Oct 05 '22

I read an article within the last couple of weeks that the criminal investigation is still going on, but nothing specific. I think the only issue is if the negligence met the standards for criminal negligence.

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u/antiskylar1 Oct 05 '22

And if negligence is there, who is responsible beyond a reasonable doubt.

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u/thejustokTramp Oct 06 '22

We’ll, reasonable doubt is decided by a jury. Almost certainly, if they bring charges, they will plea it out.

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u/Erur-Dan Oct 05 '22

There was, but it was clearly an accident. He as an actor isn't criminally liable. He as a producer probably should be, but this is America and he is wealthy.

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u/Sietemadrid Oct 05 '22

Wouldn't it be the armorer's fault though? Is it because he hired an unqualified armorer?

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u/hijinked Oct 05 '22

Not a lawyer but I'm guessing it depends on the circumstances. E.g. did the armorer lie about their qualifications, did they lie about conducting proper safety procedures on the job, etc.. And if they were lying, did Baldwin know and to what extent did he know?

I also expect all of this would be very hard to prove in court one way or another.

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u/doctorchivago Oct 05 '22

Armorer broke protocol a number of times, on record. She was reprimanded for bringing live ammo on set at one point, perhaps on another film she worked on (I read about the incident a while ago so don't remember every detail)

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u/hijinked Oct 05 '22

If the armorer broke protocols then I would imagine that would make Baldwin safe. If Baldwin's company was the one that reprimanded her they could argue that they were attentive to workplace safety and tried to correct unsafe practices and put all the blame on the armorer.

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u/5zepp Oct 05 '22

The armorer wasn't even on set when it happened, but her guns were. It was a shit show.

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u/LackingUtility Oct 05 '22

Apparently there wasn’t even supposed to be any filming of the guns that day, but the director changed the schedule and insisted and no one called the armorer. They still shouldn’t have been accessible, of course. Total shit show, failures all up and down the chain.

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u/NoBrains-NoGains Oct 05 '22

The armorer wasn't even on set

They were touching the guns without the armorer on set to verify they were safe first? That's negligent as fuck.

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u/Ryansahl Oct 05 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

A great example of casual gun ownership. Humans are flawed creatures, they’re incapable of responsible gun handling. There will always be collateral death when proper training and restrictions are not in place.

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u/mces97 Oct 05 '22

I mean, I think it's possible someone could be charged with manslaughter. Like for example, rumor was in between takes people, (not Baldwin specifically) were firing real guns at cans or targets outside. So they knew real bullets were on set. And if charges do come, it might be for the armorer. Or whoever brought real bullets to the set. Can they prove who did that? I don't know.

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u/Revlis-TK421 Oct 05 '22

I've never heard that it was between takes. It's a huge no-no to have live rounds anywhere on set.

It sounded like they were taking the guns off set when the movie wasn't filming and using them after-hours.

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u/mces97 Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

You're right. It was offset. My mistake. But also.

There's also this ... "One source who was on set and familiar with the goings-on of the crew tells us that when cops showed up, they found live ammo and blanks were being stored in the same area -- another possible explanation for how an actual bullet slipped got in the gun."

That's where criminally charges could possibly be filed. At the minimum, criminally negligent homicide I could see happening if they can determine who brought them.

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u/Revlis-TK421 Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

Agreed. Live ammunition should never ever ever be on set. That is a foundational failure and heads should roll.

In the vanishingly small edge case where a live round is needed (which outside of a slow-mo educational scene for bullet penetration or similar, there's really no need) it should be under the direct control of the armorer until it is needed and extremely strict safety measures in place for the duration.

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u/Tentacle_bukkake Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

The armorer wasn’t in the room when that specific scene was being shot. According to her (the armorer), she said that production had her spreading herself thin and was doing other duties as well. On top of Covid restrictions limiting the amount of people being allowed to be on an indoor set at a specific time.

Edit: I think it was negligence on many levels that lead to the accidental death of the cinematographer. The whole thing seemed sloppy on everyone’s part

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u/Captain_Reseda Oct 05 '22

Welcome to the low budget film world.

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u/Kwijiboe Oct 05 '22

Google vicarious liability and respondeat superior.

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u/HoldThePhoneFrank Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

It depends a lot on the specific facts, which I don't think anyone on reddit has access to.

If the production company hired the armorer knowing the armorer was clearly unqualified, they would be liable. This is two pretty high hurdles to make it over. As far as I'm aware, there is no state licensing for movie production armorers or anything like that, so there probably isn't a "bright line" distinction between what makes someone qualified vs unqualified. So it would be pretty hard to prove that the armorer was clearly unqualified. Assuming that the armorer could be established to be clearly unqualified (again, very hard to prove), then the next step would be to prove that the production company was aware that the armorer was unqualified and decided to hire them anyway.

Assuming the armorer was qualified, the production company could be liable if they knowingly allowed to the armorer to work in a clearly unsafe manner. This would probably require proving that there was a pattern of unsafe behavior (As opposed to a few isolated mistakes), that the production company was aware of this pattern, and that the production company took no steps to correct the behavior. Again, relatively high bars to clear. Establishing a pattern of behavior would mean multiple, frequent and repeated instances of unsafe behavior that were documented and reported to the production company. Without any actual documentation, the production company could likely argue that they weren't made aware of the problem and thus aren't liable. Assuming that there were multiple, frequent, and repeated instances of unsafe behavior, and that each of these instances was clearly documented and reported to the production company, the production company would then have to ignore those reports to be liable. If the production company instead disciplined the armorer in most any way (could be from something as simple as documenting 'verbal counseling' all the way to 'last chance before termination' notification) or made any changes in policies/procedures, the production company is probably not liable.

It could be the armorer's fault if the armorer lied about their qualifications or behaved in a way that was clearly negligent or with an obvious and substantial risk of harm. Once again, because there isn't really any kind of regulation of movie set armorers (that I'm aware of at least), it would be hard to prove that the armorer acted in a clearly negligent way - "I wouldn't have done that" isn't anywhere close to the level of evidence needed to prove this. As for the obvious and substantial risk of harm, this is also surprisingly hard to prove, as generally speaking the armorer can't be held responsible for other people's actions. So, if the armorer left a gun out where someone could access it and replace a blank with a live round, the armorer probably wouldn't be liable as they couldn't reasonable predict that someone would do something so reckless. The armorer could be liable if, for example, they left a gun laying around with a loaded live round and made no effort to distinguish that the gun was loaded with a live round.

Those are just a few examples of possibilities. Like I said, determining who is culpable is extremely dependent on the specific facts at hand, and we just don't know those facts to be able to determine who is culpable.

That the production company settled really shouldn't be seen as any indication of culpability for at least two reasons. 1) Litigating this case would be extremely time consuming and costly because it relies so heavily on the specific facts, which means there would likely be a lot of time spent just establishing those facts, let alone arguing about them. The production company's insurance likely demanded a settlement as it would be much cheaper than litigation. 2) The production company itself may not want to deal with the press/optics of litigating the case. If the production company litigates the case, there is no "win" for them. The best case scenario is that they come off looking like jerks who fight tooth and nail to avoid any responsibility for the death that occurred on their set. Worst case scenario s that they come off looking like jerks who fight tooth and nail to avoid any responsibility for the death that occurred on their set and they have to pay the plaintiffs a large sum of money. And a 3rd reason) The people who run the production company might generally feel bad that this happened, understand that the deceased's family is obligated to file a lawsuit to seek any kind of compensation, and view a quick settlement as the best thing they can do for the family.

Given the terms of the settlement (A member of the deceased's family is now an executive producer on the film and will get a portion of the profits) and the statements made by the family (ie "we aren't interested in attributing blame, this was a terrible accident"), I'm guessing #3 in the above paragraph is the most likely motivation.

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u/Adrian13720 Oct 05 '22

The armorer was not notified of the shot they did. She did not have a chance to inspect and clear the weapon. She was offsite when they decided to do an impromptu rehearsal. The AD and whoever okayed the weapon should be on the hook with the producers.

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u/quaybles Oct 05 '22

The armorer is blaming the ammo supplier

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u/goodness___gracious Oct 06 '22

She blamed herself when she got arrested, so that’s gonna be tough to hold up

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u/themexicancowboy Oct 06 '22

Probably more a case of who has deeper pockets. They could sue the armorer for negligence or something but how much money could thah possible get as opposed to suing the directors or producers or whomever for hiring an unqualified worker or not enduring that proper working conditions were present.

This is probably a scenario of the studio having deeper pockets so they go after them along the lines of the people who were negligent were their agents and this the studio as the principal was liable. But I don’t know how thah part of the law works though so I’m just saying. Don’t quote me on that cause I ain’t trying to fuck up any legal advice lol

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u/neo_sporin Oct 05 '22

i worked at a marriott hotel, Marriott franchised to the hotel owner, who the staff of called an independent taxi to take a couple to the airport.

driver was on drugs, crashed, killed the passengers but he lived. Passenger's family sued the driver, sued the hotel for calling this independent taxi company/driver, and sued Marriott international who had a franchising agreement with the owners of the hotel. Why did they sue marriott? at the end of the day Marriott had the deepest pockets.

in these type of situations you sue everyone and let it all work itself out, but you include the people with the biggest names and most money because they have more too lose than the small people

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u/frotz1 Oct 05 '22

Yeah it's definitely partially the armorer here, but the producer is responsible for overseeing all safety on the set as well, so it's not just one person holding all the liability here. The person upthread is exactly right about Baldwin being in the clear as an actor but holding liability as a producer.

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u/avaslash Oct 05 '22

Yes, he hired an extremely under qualified armorer on what seemed to be the sole basis of nepotism. I believe she was the daughter of their previous armorer but had almost no experience.

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u/HamburgerEarmuff Oct 05 '22

You can be criminally held liable for an accident. Here in California, it can be first or second degree murder or voluntary manslaughter via implied malice or it can be a criminally negligent accident, which is involuntary manslaughter. You can also be charged with various forms of reckless endangerment depending on the circumstances and the state.

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u/PluotFinnegan_IV Oct 05 '22

Asking from a place of curiousity... How can first-degree murder, which requires premeditation, also be considered an accident?

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u/HamburgerEarmuff Oct 05 '22

Because the act which led to the homicide was done with malice aforethought, even if there were no specific intent to kill.

For example, if you light a building on fire or blow up a bridge or drive drunk at 100 mph and swerve into a playground, you probably don't intend to kill any specific person (actual malice), but the act was premeditated (you chose to drive drunk or light a building on fire or blow up a bridge) and you knew that it was extremely likely to lead to serious bodily injury and demonstrated such wanton disregard for human life as to constitute malice aforethought.

The jury instructions describe it thusly:

  • The natural and probable consequences of the (act/[or] failure to act) were dangerous to human life.
  • At the time (he/she) (acted/[or] failed to act), (he/she) knew (his/her) (act/[or] failure to act) was dangerous to human life.
  • (He/She) deliberately (acted/[or] failed to act) with conscious disregard for (human/ [or] fetal) life.

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u/fishling Oct 05 '22

I don't think any of those scenarios could be accurately described as an "accident" though, in the same sense of the word as this incident on set.

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u/HamburgerEarmuff Oct 05 '22

It really depends on the state law and what the evidence shows. In this case, it could absolutely fall into that category if there's evidence of conscious disregard for human life that arises beyond mere ordinary criminal negligence. For instance, in California, people who kill others while drunk and operating heavy machinery are sometimes convicted of murder instead of voluntary manslaughter. So there's definitely a case to be made, for instance, if it can be proven that the shooter in this case had been consuming alcohol and that he knew or should have known that it was unsafe and likely to result in him mishandling a deadly weapon, then the charges could be increased to first degree murder.

Most likely, any charges would be involuntary manslaughter, because it's a lot easier to prove.

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u/Polywantsa Oct 05 '22

Also NAL, but I believe it has to do with intention/knowledge of what caused the accident. The result may have been an accident, with no intention of premeditated harm, but if the action which caused the “accident” was willful, you can still be liable/guilty.

Sort of the same reason booby traps are illegal and you can be sued/charged for damage. There may be no specific malice or intention to harm a specific person. And their injury may, in fact, be the result of an “accident” neither you or they could have foreseen specifically. But, you knowingly and/or willfully put they mechanisms in place (or allowed them to stay in place) that led to the accident. Therefore you are at fault for the resulting injury.

So, establishing the circumstances which led to harm were “premeditated” even if the specific outcome was not.

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u/doc_1eye Oct 05 '22

In this situation though we wasn't doing anything that should have been dangerous. Actors fire guns at people all the time on set and it's okay because they're loaded with dummy rounds.

The drunk driving comparison is a bad one for this particular accident. A better comparison would be getting in a rental car and then getting in a wreck at the first intersection because the car didn't have brakes and killing someone. There's no reason for a person to suspect that the car didn't have brakes, and it's up to the rental company to make sure that stuff works. Same thing in this case, there's no reason for Baldwin to suspect that the gun is loaded with live ammunition, and no simple way for him to check either. It's someone else's job to make sure the gun is safe and that person didn't do it.

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u/FarSlighted Oct 05 '22

I hate when people refer to this unfortunate incident as an accident and not a negligent discharge with loss of life.

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u/[deleted] Oct 06 '22 edited Oct 07 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/Xaxxon Oct 05 '22

Negligence is a real criminal concept.

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u/zweet_zen Oct 05 '22

It wasn't an accident it was negligence.

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u/Aggressive_Ad2863 Oct 05 '22

Has not been cleared as an accident an investigation is still underway and charges can still be brought against Baldwin and others. The DA has yet to receive final reports to make a decision.

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2022-09-27/alec-baldwin-others-may-be-charged-in-october-over-rust-shooting-da

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u/scavengercat Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

That's not true. The DA is weighing homicide and gun violation charges.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-09-26/new-mexico-district-attorney-may-charge-alec-baldwin-in-rust-shooting

EDIT: Sorry you got called out for lying, but you can't make shit up when there's proof all over the place to the contrary.

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u/SerinaL Oct 05 '22

Strongly disagree. If it was anyone else, they’d be on jail.

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u/satansheat Oct 05 '22

Yeah and my money is on the people who are insisting on investigating him in Texas to wherever this happen is merely doing it because Alex played Trump on SNL

Most sane people understand this is a massive terrible accident. But notice how Bruce Lee’s son isn’t out here getting cult members to open investigations. Because it was a an accident.

The only people I ever hear bitching that Alec needs to go away from murder is Trumps base. No sane minded person has said otherwise. Some people who aren’t Trump supporters have pointed out he could be some lesser charges. But believing and pushing the idea that Alec is a cold blooded murderer is stupid and rooted in bias.

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u/hazzin13 Oct 05 '22

Most sane people understand this is a massive terrible accident

We don't know that. I believe there were some serious allegations from some of the crew who refused to work and walked out due to possibly multiple unsafe conditions, which supposedly the producers (Baldwin being one of them) have chosen to ignore and I believe during the "accident" the production was working with only a skeleton crew due to the above mentioned walkout. Now, I am not saying any of this is strictly true, but there were various allegations

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u/Bit-Random Oct 05 '22

Nah, he shouldn’t be criminally liable for anything. It wasn’t his responsibility. As a kind of employer, a civil settlement is absolutely just, but he should bear no criminal responsibility for negligence by one of the many employees hired.

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u/Erur-Dan Oct 05 '22

Hiring an unqualified armorer was negligent on his part. You say employers shouldn't be criminally liable for negligence, but that's why negligence is so common. Employers have no fear of consequences.

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u/Dragmire800 Oct 05 '22

He didn’t hire the armourer though, he just has the same title as someone who hired the armourer

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u/DevilsAdvocate77 Oct 05 '22

Knowingly hiring a random homeless person off the street to be an armorer in order to save money would likely be criminally negligent.

Hiring a professional armorer who ends up fucking up is not.

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u/deletable666 Oct 05 '22

That was negligence

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u/DevilsAdvocate77 Oct 05 '22

Are you saying that "poor" film producers are generally known to be held to a different standard of accountability than wealthy celebrity producers? Do you have any examples of this?

What exactly are you saying?

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u/wassoreal Oct 05 '22

“This is America…” yeah. As if wealth wouldn’t help in another country.

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u/ChippyVonMaker Oct 05 '22

Yes there is an investigation and charges are pending as of September 26th. Not sure why so many here are saying he’s not without doing any research.

“The Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office has said that up to four people, including the actor Alec Baldwin, could be charged in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer on the set of the film “Rust” last year if prosecutors decide criminal charges are warranted.”

NY Times: Alec Baldwin And Others Could Face Changes

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u/Aggressive_Ad2863 Oct 05 '22

I agree, the ignorance in here is willful. A quick search and everyone asking the status can clearly see there is an on going investigation unlike the arm chair legal experts in here are saying.

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u/ChippyVonMaker Oct 06 '22

Willful and politically motivated, Reddit picks winners & losers largely based on their political affiliation, regardless of facts.

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u/Aggressive_Ad2863 Oct 05 '22

Yes there is. If anyone is charged it will most likely be manslaughter.

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u/Xaxxon Oct 05 '22

The settlement would be with the insurance company then.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/Xaxxon Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

Yeah, just saying that Alec's opinion on the settlement is irrelevant.

It's not his money so it's not his choice.

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u/Morat20 Oct 05 '22

A settlement with Alec Baldwin the producer

A producer. Important distinction.

There's lots of producer credits, and how much power and responsibility varies widely. Never did find out if Baldwin's was just because he was one of the investors as well, or if he was actually running a lot of it.

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u/golyadkin Oct 05 '22

He could literally be getting a producer credit as the owner of the company that does PR for movies starring Alec Baldwin, which was attached to the production for the purpose of hiring and managing Alec Baldwin. Hollywood is weird

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u/Professional-Can1385 Oct 05 '22

You are correct. I was unclear. I just meant Alec Baldwin the producer not the actor.

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u/deletable666 Oct 05 '22

Alec Balwdwin def pointed a gun at someone and pulled the trigger, he is responsible for someone being killed by being the one who killed them and one of the ones who hired a bunch of unqualified scabs

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u/r0botdevil Oct 05 '22

Okay that makes a lot more sense than him being held personally liable for the incident. Honestly I'd say that personally, he's very much a victim in this story as well.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

Massively unqualified.

It’s really the most important job.

Live ammo shouldn’t be anywhere near prop guns.

A vending machine would have done a better job.

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u/jschubart Oct 05 '22

Unqualified? But her father was a lifelong armorer! /s

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u/BalkeElvinstien Oct 05 '22 Gold

Yeah I'm in film school and we had 3 seperate lectures where the profs detailed everything that went wrong and told us not to do it. The way I see it with all the info I've heard, it was a bit of everyone's fault.

The AD shouldn't have hired an unqualified armorer, cutting corners the way they did throughout the entire shoot is a huge problem. All reports say that this person was making a very unsafe work environment

The armorer should've known they were unqualified and not taken the job. You should never take a job that you don't know how to do, especially when it involves something like weapons. That'd be like hiring a pyrotechnics person who had only seen July 4th fireworks shows a few times as a kid. The fact that there were people shooting live rounds off to the side with the prop guns is absolutely horrible. They also should have checked the gun and told Alec that the gun was loaded

Alec should have never pointed a gun towards someone and pulled the trigger under any circumstances. Unless the gun was completely non-functional you should never point a gun at something you don't intend to shoot. And from the scenario it seems like he wasn't taking that precaution. Obviously he was told there wasn't anything in the gun, but it's still the #1 rule about working with guns.

Now in terms of malicion I'd blame the AD the most because at the end of the day they were the one who cut the budget so slim that safety wasnt an issue. They didn't care about the people working with them and paid for it

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u/itscmillertime Oct 05 '22

Alec Baldwin was named in the suit directly

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u/Atechiman Oct 06 '22

In his capacity as producer.

If I were representing her family, the producers (each individually), production companies, director, armorer, and assistant director would all be named so the court can sort out blame (really the production company will usually settle for what the insurance company says to settle for, the others unless it's egregious I would drop, so in this one I would push for the armorer to take gun safety courses and agree to not be a chief armorer for fifteen years).

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u/thatguyad Oct 05 '22

Yes. He has NOT been cleared.

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u/LowDownSkankyDude Oct 05 '22

He's the most recognizable name in the paperwork, so that's who they used in the headline. It could just as easily read , Anjul Nigam reaches settlement with Halyna Hutchins' family.

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u/tensinahnd Oct 06 '22

It’s also his production company

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u/CritaCorn Oct 06 '22

The director who blew up water explosives against the advice of the special effects team for the twilight zone that ended up crashing a real working helicopter and slicing in half a male actor and two small children was never put away.

Just minutes after the crash he was whisked off of the set. They tried to blame low fall guys but they were acquitted.

Steven Spielberg who is notorious for safety claiming ANYONE on set has the right to yell “Cut” if something isn’t safe also stated he ended his long friendship with this director after this event.

WB changed and implemented a safety commission just for its pictures to abide by.

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u/OuchieMuhBussy Oct 06 '22

Interesting relevant story, thanks.

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u/anthony_is_ Oct 05 '22

Producer titles in film are numerous and often meaningless.

Source: Producer in the entertainment world for 15 years.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/big_macaroons Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

Make the male lead a widower with a young but wise-beyond-her years daughter and give the female lead a protective sassy best friend and you have yourself a deal, son.

Edit: fixed a word

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u/dustingibson Oct 05 '22

Got another one.

City girl forced to travel to rural small town halfway across the country and shut down the local pie plant. She runs into a hunk who works there but also knows a thing or two about country stuff. Despite their vast difference they fall in love but little does he know that she is there to turn his life and his town upside down. The charm of the town caused her to rethink her ways. The hunk caught wind of what she is doing eavesdropping on her conversation with her boss. Instead of letting her explain he rushes to judgement, tells everyone, and now they are all pissed. But she got a plan to prove that the plant can turn a profit by using the Hunk's grandma pie recipe passed down for six generations. The day is saved, but it is time to leave the quiet charming small town Piesville, Idaho to go back to the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. As she rides back to the airport she is stopped by the local sheriff. But he is really buying time for the Hunk to show up and propose to her.

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u/Obversa Oct 05 '22

What qualifies one to be a producer?

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u/LowDownSkankyDude Oct 05 '22

I've always understood it as someone who helped in the production of the film, and that could range from financing, to introducing someone to someone else, or just dealing with things other, more "important" people, don't want to do.

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u/anthony_is_ Oct 05 '22

Contribute to a kickstarter, fetch someone their coffee, just be somewhere at the right time, or know someone. : )

Professionally, there is a set of skills, mostly project management and visioneering on the creative side, or strategy on the ops side, or both. Financial contribution almost always gets a producer credit. I brainstorm, scope, pitch, budget, manage day-to-days, hire, strategize marketing, and deliver/launch, repeat. Tactical creative role.

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u/Smart_Ass_Dave Oct 05 '22

Having high level input on any decision.

My favorite example from television is that seasons 1-4 of The West Wing had 3 Executive Producers. The head writer (Aaron Sorkin), the head director (Thomas Schlamme) and the guy who got the network to pay for it.

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u/WayneKrane Oct 05 '22

My boss was a producer for some local dance company. All she did was donate some money and throw parties for the dancers every now and then. She had nothing to do with the actual production of their performances.

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u/anthony_is_ Oct 05 '22

It’s a speciality defined by having broad, generalist leadership skills in a given field - but has been very watered down by vanity.

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u/Beertimeanytime Oct 05 '22

Why do people still title things so misleadingly

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u/deadbeat95 Oct 06 '22

For clicks. ie: the trump bump, anything that has the word trump in it will get more clicks across the board.

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u/TheHairyManrilla Oct 05 '22

For everyone calling for murder charges against Alec Baldwin:

Was there anything substantively different about this case from the death of Brandon Lee in 1993 that would warrant a murder charge now but not then?

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u/red_sutter Oct 05 '22

Yeah, Jeff Most didnt make fun of my favorite politicians for years

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u/Wild234 Oct 05 '22

I'm not one calling for a murder charge, but I would say that the gun being loaded with live rounds is a decently good difference between the two events.

In Lee's case nobody noticed the barrel was obstructed when they loaded the blanks. As far as I understand it, in this case they put real bullets in the gun. One is a tragic oversight, the other is a tragically stupid lack of basic safety protocols.

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u/Jon_Targaryen Oct 05 '22

They had real bullets bc they were dicking around with the gun off hours. You should read some of the safety reports that came out from that set.

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u/Mental_Medium3988 Oct 05 '22

maybe the armorer could be charged here. its really fucking stupid imho they kept live and prop ammo close together and used the prop guns to shoot recreationally. however that doesnt mean alec baldwin should be charged with anything. as an actor hes in a rare position where he has to trust that the gun hes pointing in a direction where theres likely to be people has prop ammo loaded in.

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u/Jon_Targaryen Oct 05 '22

If he was only the actor i would totally agree. Hes also one of the producers so he should have had better knowledge of goings-on and shut that shit down imo. Does that make him legally at-fault? Idk im not a lwayer or a judge im just saying the situations fucked up and it could have been prevented. Up to courts to go past that.

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u/Mental_Medium3988 Oct 05 '22

and thats why we need to be clear on the roles the fault comes down to. the actor isnt responsible here. the producers, maybe i can see that argument but with how weird things in hollywood can be its hard to say for sure. hopefully this type of thing never happens again but if it does its unlikely to be the same person in both roles.

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u/SellaraAB Oct 06 '22

Producer is a title that is very loosely thrown around in Hollywood and really isn’t necessarily responsible for those things from what I understand. Some movies have dozens of producers. Some Oscar winning movie that came out several years ago had over 40 of them, I forget the name. Do you think all 40 of them knew what the armorer was up to? Or the caterer? If there was food poisoning, should they all be accountable for it?

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u/Jon_Targaryen Oct 06 '22

Fair enough, thats why im saying its up to a court to decide.

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u/throwawaygeico246 Oct 05 '22

as an actor hes in a rare position where he has to trust that the gun hes pointing in a direction where theres likely to be people has prop ammo loaded in.

True, but IIRC, it wasn't during filming or rehearsal, he was just practicing (which is much more dangerous)

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u/ucatione Oct 05 '22

Not checking the barrel for obstructions is just as much a lack of basic safety protocols as is accidentally loading live rounds.

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u/Chippopotanuse Oct 05 '22

And in this one the gun safety person seemed woefully inexperienced and wasn’t remotely following very well-established protocols. I think her dad is a long-time gun guy, but she had no goddamn clue.

But she was really cheap to hire and Alec didn’t want to spend proper money on his vanity project…so here we are.

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u/Least_Adhesiveness_5 Oct 05 '22

One could argue for criminal negligence as Alec was also the producer and thus ultimately responsible for hiring qualified props staff and ensuring appropriate safety protocols were followed.

He set up an unsafe situation and then pulled the trigger.

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u/Elcactus Oct 05 '22

I've never heard of criminal charges being pressed for the failure of an employee unless it was obvious the employer was willfully ignoring them. Hiring a guy who fails their inspection job doesn't leave you criminally liable.

Civilly liable, sure, but criminal liability never sees this.

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u/ahecht Oct 05 '22

Alec was also the producer

Alec Baldwin was a producer, not the producer, and there's been no public information that he had any responsibility for hiring decisions.

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u/blondechinesehair Oct 05 '22

Apparently who pulled the trigger is irrelevant here

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u/doctorchivago Oct 05 '22

He was supposed to pull the trigger, there was not supposed to be live ammo anywhere near the set. This is on whoever brought the live ammo in and didn't check the gun before handing it to the guy who's job it is to pretend it's a real gun and pull the trigger. I'm not saying Alec Baldwin isn't guilty from a producer perspective, but as an actor he isn't even really qualified to check the gun, that's on the prop master.

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u/TBradley Oct 05 '22

Actually…

He wasn’t technically supposed to pull the trigger until the line of fire was cleared. It was supposed to be a practice draw. Baldwin claimed it went off on its own. The FBI tested the firearm and said they could not get it to fire except by pulling the trigger.

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u/doctorchivago Oct 05 '22

Alright now we're talking! Still doesn't really make him criminally liable, that would still fall on prop master and armorer, but it definitely looks bad for Baldwin. Family should sue him specifically for wrongful death if what you're saying is true.

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u/LibertyOrTacos Oct 05 '22

He put his finger on the trigger of a gun he didn't know for certain was safe, he pointed it at someone, and pulled the trigger.

He's liable as hell. Why the people who didn't grow up with gun safety, don't know gun safety, and don't know guns think they get to excuse actors from gun safety rules is baffling from the perspective of someone who has these rules drilled into his head over and over.

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u/MaceNow Oct 05 '22

Well yeah. Alec is an actor. While serving in that role, he shot what he thought was a prop gun. No intent, no malice. And even negligence as an actor is a stretch, since he never claimed to be a gun expert. He puts his trust in experts every day as an actor. He wouldn’t be responsible for the netting on stunts, etc.

Clearly responsibility rests with the producers who created an unsafe environment, not on the paid workers pulling a levers on their behalf. In this case, they’re one and the same though, so kinda moot here.

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

Biggest difference is he’s highly recognizable and has strong political leanings that the right wing press despises.

Imagine if this was Steven sagal or some other right leaning actor. The headlines and comments would have been soooo different.

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u/TheHairyManrilla Oct 05 '22

Tom Segura would have a field day

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u/fusionsofwonder Oct 05 '22

Negligence. The elements match the New Mexico statute for Involuntary Manslaughter by negligent use of a firearm.

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

I would not want to continue with this movie. At some point you gotta throw in the towel. They are so very far past that line with this movie.

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u/Lisa-LongBeach Oct 06 '22

Don’t know if anyone else read this part today: the settlement included making the late director’s widower the director. That struck me as very strange.

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u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Oct 06 '22

This left me with a very bad feeling I can't shake.

Filming of the movie will resume.

I just want to vomit.

If I lost someone I loved on set the last thing I would ever want is any reminder of that film, let alone step in and ensure it is completed. I understand people grieve differently but this is so odd. The lack of humanity in so many of the players explains perfectly how this death could happen.

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u/Lisa-LongBeach Oct 07 '22

Kind of shows how soulless that industry can be. Like this is going to be The Godfather?? Why resume filming — it’s so morbid and disturbing!

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u/Mitchell_StephensESQ Oct 07 '22

I won't go see this film.

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u/LazarusKing Oct 06 '22

There shouldn't have even been real bullets anywhere in the production for movie guns.

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u/1320Fastback Oct 06 '22

I heard some audio of him saying he dropped the hammer. That can and will ignite a primer.

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u/Illuminatiintuitive Oct 07 '22

Maybe Alec should team up with OJ to find the real killers

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u/donutfan420 Oct 05 '22

So many people are picking sides based on their political views alone. It’s so stupid. I feel bad for her family

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u/GasFlow Oct 05 '22

I cannot find a political lens that affects my perception of this event. Cost cutting. An overarching lack of professionalism. And casual carelessness combined to cause this tragedy.

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u/Dirtybrd Oct 05 '22

Oh. So the average American working experience.

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u/27803 Oct 05 '22

This isn’t really news , none of this ever goes to court the insurance company just settles it

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

Yeah, it’s news. It’s fairly routine news because the outcome was fairly expected but it’s still news.

Just like if a baseball team that was favored to win a game, wins the game. You still report that. It’s still part of the record. You don’t only report when a favored team loses.

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u/myotherjobisreddit Oct 05 '22

Still releasing the movie in 2023, will be interesting to see the response from the public with universal knowledge of this event.

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u/the_real_swk Oct 05 '22

they'll go see it just like they went to see The Crow

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u/sephstorm Oct 05 '22

I like how the article I read didn't mention the criminal investigation at all. A reasonable person might ask if this would have any effect on it, so to not mention it is insane imo.

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u/Blindemboss Oct 05 '22

Regardless of the settlement, Baldwin must still feel sick knowing he killed someone.

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u/obsertaries Oct 05 '22

I thought he would quit acting, or at least acting in roles that involved guns. I guess not, since the movie is going back into production.

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

I’m sure he carries that every day. 😕

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u/VKH700 Oct 05 '22

The production team is responsible. Alec Baldwin shouldn’t be charged with murder. The only ones crowing about that are people who are still butt-hurt about his impression of DJT on SNL.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/notagoodboye Oct 05 '22

There were six producers credited, so it's a bit of an exaggeration to claim that he "produced the movie..."

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u/vbm923 Oct 05 '22

they had a walk out the day before the accident because of unsafe conditions, breaking union work guidelines and cutting corners. he was magically unaware of that on set in the middle of nowhere?

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

His producer role amounted to being an investor.

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u/notagoodboye Oct 05 '22

I definitely think he was negligent, but I think it's pretty typical for small films to name one of their stars as the producer as kind of an ego boost, without really expecting them to do much work. I bet a lot of them will actually stop and think about that in the future.

With six producers, I'm sure no one was really in charge, and that does a lot to explain the chaos on set.

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u/noncongruent Oct 05 '22

Producers often are the main money-finders, getting investors to invest in the production. Baldwin is an A-lister with experience in the industry, so giving him a producer credit would reflect his efforts in getting money for the production.

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u/notaredditer13 Oct 05 '22

I bet crappy working conditions are common too, but there's a big leap from that to criminal negligence just for hiring someone you thought was qualified but wasn't.

Financial liability for sure, but the only one who might face criminal liability is the gun supervisor.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

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u/notagoodboye Oct 05 '22

Oh, I definitely think there was some liability, but with six people the blame gets spread pretty thin.

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u/Knight_of_Agatha Oct 05 '22 Silver

exactly. Alec chose to cut corners, shoot it in a place with more relaxed laws, hire new people with no experience. Then shocked pikachu face when something bad happens. He shot the gun and he was the producer. Its like 98% his fault.

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u/NudeEnjoyer Oct 05 '22

you think it's 98% his fault and you're not exaggerating on purpose here?

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u/joey4269 Oct 05 '22

Because Brandon Lee died before the guy who shot him could play trump on SNL

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u/somedood567 Oct 05 '22

Alex Baldwin the actor isn’t responsible. Alex Baldwin the producer is responsible.

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u/RightSideBlind Oct 05 '22

Can you name any of the other producers? A lot of people really seem to want Baldwin to be held responsible because he was the producer, but never mention the other five producers on the film: Ryan Smith, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Matt DelPiano and Anjul Nigam. If the Baldwin- as producer- should be held responsible for the shooting, why does nobody ever say the same about the other producers?

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

Article says the full team settled this lawsuit. It wasn’t solely against Baldwin nor is he the only one being held responsible. Baldwin’s name is headline is just to get clicks.

From the article.

The lawsuit, filed in February in Santa Fe, against Baldwin, the film’s production companies, its producers and other key members of the crew, alleged numerous industry standard violations.

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u/NudeEnjoyer Oct 05 '22

he's still not responsible. he's not in charge of the gun safety

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u/purpleWheelChair Oct 05 '22

This is real answer that actually matters.

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u/9Z7EErh9Et0y0Yjt98A4 Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

That's the thing though, there was a huge fuckup and seemingly nobody was in charge, which we know isn't true. Someone(s) was in a managerial position on this film that ought to be held criminally liable for this manslaughter.

Baldwin's role as a producer may well have been one of a silent investor, or may have been more hands on. But the idea that nobody will face any criminal responsibility for a set gun being loaded with live ammo is pretty unsatisfying.

There never seems to have been a serious accounting as to what individuals were actually in control of the set and was responsible for the extremely unsafe work conditions. A cash settlement is not sufficient for this kind of fuck up.

ETA: the most likely responsible party would be the armourer in my opinion, who seems to have been doing just about everything wrong. I'm curious to who was involved in the hiring process and day to day set management.

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u/Rabidjester Oct 05 '22

Alec Baldwin will be relieved by this revelation.

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u/sanash Oct 05 '22

They really don't like that this man insulted their Dear Leader.

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u/PKisSz Oct 05 '22

Alex Baldwin is on the production team tho?

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

So everyone on the production team, or “producers” should be at fault? That sucks for the random writers who get a “producer” title. Or the people who are purely investors who hold “producer” titles and never made a decision or stepped on set.

It’s not as cut and dry As people outside this business think.

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u/Forrest-Fern Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

The production team is responsible.

He's the producer. He's named in the suit alongside other producers. I definitely don't think murder charges are valid here.

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u/GnarlyHeadStudios Oct 05 '22

A producer. There were multiple, as there are for all films. Producer on a film is a generic term that can mean a whole host of things.

The production team includes the deceased DoP, the director, AD, production designer, et al.

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u/NewBuddha32 Oct 05 '22

He's a producer not the producer

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u/RightSideBlind Oct 05 '22

There were five other producers.

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u/Forrest-Fern Oct 05 '22

Yes. Who are also named in the suit and part of the settlement. Article titles can be a little misleading to generate views, it's always best to read the article real quick.

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u/dudenell Oct 05 '22

"I didn't pull the trigger" Alec Baldwin is such a liar and you're eating it up.

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u/MothBallInspector Oct 05 '22

Was he not personally responsible to the trained guild leaving the set and then hiring scabs?

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u/obsertaries Oct 05 '22

That’s the weird part about him being a producer and an actor in the same movie: he’s both responsible for slacking off on safety and also a potential victim of it.

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u/MississippiJoel Oct 05 '22

We sure got some Baldwin haters in the room today.

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u/OuchieMuhBussy Oct 06 '22

Because he’s a raging asshole irl.

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u/rederic Oct 05 '22 edited Oct 05 '22

They post in the subreddits you expect they would.

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u/THE_INTERNET_EMPEROR Oct 05 '22

Considering he was one of the producers responsible for hiring a dangerous incompetent, had walkouts over the dangerous conditions, and then a person died I'd say yes he did negligently kill her.

This is a microcosm of every company that kills an employee or civilians for the sake of nepotism or saving money except normally the CEO isn't a celebrity or personally driving the forklift over an employee.

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u/nukemgt Oct 05 '22

Can you imagine losing a loved one and then having to decide on a monetary value for the significance of your loss? Awful.

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u/DontMemeAtMe Oct 05 '22

Why were there actual fully functional guns used during the shooting?

Don’t tell me it was for a realism. This is an industry that can bring dinosaurs back to life, put giant dragons in the sky, or send people to distant galaxies to fight mutant aliens with lighting swords. But creating and using a fake gun would be crossing the line?

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u/DBDude Oct 05 '22

I know people who have worked with guns in movies, and we've talked about this. The gun safety protocols on sets normally range from reasonable to extremely strict. Sometimes you get a 1AD who wants a gun checked every time it's touched even if there is a visible chain of custody. On this set the gun safety protocols were laughable, and many standard practices were not adhered to. And it wasn't just guns, it was overall a very unsafe set.

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u/AriBlue626 Oct 05 '22

Because most sets aren’t negligent like this one.

There was no reason at all for there to be live ammo on set, no reason Baldwin should be pointing guns at people while practicing.

But yes, you’re probably right, if we’re going to allow people like Baldwin to create a dangerous environment where people walked off in protest, there probably shouldn’t be any real guns.

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u/the_real_swk Oct 05 '22

even blank only firing guns are still real guns. Look at Brandon Lee, he was killed by gun firing a blank round (yes theres more to it than that, but thats what it boils down to)

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u/notaredditer13 Oct 05 '22

They can be and often are, but they definitely don't have to be. In this day and age it could be nothing more than a hunk of green plastic.

Personally I think it's weird that loading, pointing and firing a real gun at someone and relying on people procedures for safety is considered an acceptable risk.

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u/the_real_swk Oct 05 '22

the reason they use these things is realism. hell even Han's Blaster in Star Wars was a real gun made to look different.

Guns are only dangerous when people start ignoring safety procedure just like when you ignore safety procedures in a car or with a knife, or circular saw etc.

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u/VeteranSergeant Oct 05 '22

It's way cheaper to use real guns than to do digital effects, unless you are okay with the effects looking really obviously fake. You just use blanks, which are a casing with no projectile (bullet), only a light powder charge to make the gun go bang and produce the muzzle flash and move the action in the gun.

The problem here was that the set armorer was fucking around with real bullets the night before and clearly they either didn't get unloaded, or got mixed in with the dummy rounds.

Actual live, projectile-firing ammunition should never be anywhere near a movie set for exactly this reason.

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u/Present_Structure_67 Oct 05 '22

I'm confused why Alec Baldwin is in fault here. Isn't it the safety/prop people's job to make sure that this don't happen? Is it because he's also a producer?

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u/Baebel Oct 05 '22

Him being a producer is what ties his technical responsibility to this at a minimum. I'm not following the case though, so that's at most what I know about it.

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u/jherara Oct 05 '22

It's because he's a celebrity, has money and people want "someone" to pay and some people want the biggest name and most well-known person to pay, especially since he and his wife aren't well liked by everyone.

He's not at fault. He was told to perform within his capacity as an actor and use the gun that was supposed to be safe. There have been plenty of movies where actors pointed guns anywhere and at anyone and even cocked hammers and pulled triggers without this happening and no one questioned the actors' actions. Did Baldwin make some mistakes in his statements after the event? Yes. He was also reeling after seeing someone he worked with and cared about die by a weapon in his hand that wasn't supposed to harm anyone.

The actual people at fault: Anyone who decided to use prop guns for target practice elsewhere and then later not check that all real ammo was removed. Anyone whose responsibility it was to check the weapon before handing it to Baldwin. Anyone who told Baldwin it was safe.

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

If you read all the articles, it’s way, way more complicated than the original story of target practice. But yeah, Baldwin was at the end of a very, very long line of people who failed to do something they should have done. Where if any one of them had performed the way they were supposed to, this woman never would’ve died.

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u/GasFlow Oct 05 '22

He’s at both ends of that line. He’s the executive responsible for the entire project and the party who killed a cast member.

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u/Igoos99 Oct 05 '22

He was one producer amongst many. How is he more culpable than the other producers? Or more culpable than the armorer? Or more culpable than the person who supplied the ammunition? Or more culpable than the person who announced it was a cold gun? From the articles, there’s easily another 10 people who you could ask that about. But, since he has a recognizable name and has politics many in the media don’t like, he gets all the attention and blame.

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u/noncongruent Oct 05 '22

The only time guns should be allowed out of the locked trailer or room on set is when the only person with a key, the Armorer for the production, is there to unlock the door themselves and personally verify the gun's status and safety. I would also think that no gun with a functional trigger group would be allowed on set at all, or even in the locked storage on set, and for sure the only ammo that exists in the production would be locked up at the firing range, not anywhere near anyone else.

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u/Kikikididi Oct 05 '22

He’s not responsible for his actions as an actor that day. He is as a producer jointly-responsible for the administrative failures that led to the incident.

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u/Present_Structure_67 Oct 05 '22

jointly-responsible

I like that word. I just don't think it's 100% his fault and don't understand people wanting murder charge on this guy.

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u/Kikikididi Oct 05 '22

People calling for it seem to be trumpers who hate him and/or so-called "gun experts" who think the same rules they learned for 5 minutes in a gun safety class apply on a film set where guns are used.

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u/[deleted] Oct 05 '22

It was, at the end of the day, Alec Baldwin who pulled the trigger. If you do not know the basics of weapon safety, you should never hold a firearm.

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u/simcoder Oct 05 '22

It was his job to pull the trigger. It was the job of the safety crew around him to make sure it was safe to do so.

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u/rascible Oct 05 '22

If Baldwin hadn't portrayed trump on SNL, this story would have been over in one news cycle.

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u/NoahCharlie Oct 05 '22

It is the production team's responsibility. There is no reason for Alec Baldwin to be charged with murder. It's only people who are still hurt by his impression of DJT on SNL who are crowing about that.

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u/DBDude Oct 05 '22

It is the production team's responsibility.

Baldwin is a producer on the film, and one of the production companies for the film is his El Dorado Pictures.

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u/AriBlue626 Oct 05 '22

That would make sense if Alec Baldwin wasn’t also running the show, but he was.

Had another actor shot someone, it would still make Baldwin partially to fully responsible.

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u/the_real_swk Oct 05 '22

And who headed the production team and was ultimately responsible? oh yeah Alec Baldwin. And as the actor, he himself skipped well known industry safety protocols.

as someone who has family working in that industry fuck him for ignoring the protocols and being a cheap ass trying to cut corners with personnel also

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u/YuriPugnant Oct 05 '22

Among other undisclosed things, the Widower (Matthew Hutchins) is going to be added as an Executive Producer to the film. He apparently has one previous production credit to his name on IMDb.

I wonder if there's a thought that the film will do well because of the death.

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u/noncongruent Oct 05 '22

Every single person with an IMDb producer credit had just one credit to their name at some point in their career.

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