Actor Alec Baldwin claimed he is not “culpable” for shooting and killing Halyna Hutchins on the set of his latest film “Rust” last year, and that his film contract also protects him from any financial liability in the incident, according to a legal filing earlier this month.
“This is a rare instance when the system broke down, and someone should be held legally culpable for the tragic consequences. That person is not Alec Baldwin,” Luke Nikas, Baldwin’s attorney, stated in the arbitration demand obtained by Insider.
The nearly 40-page document was filed against Rust Movie Productions LLC and producer Ryan Smith and asserts that Baldwin is not responsible for the tragedy because he was told the firearm was not loaded with live ammunition.
The document also highlights a clause in Baldwin’s contract, which states he is protected “from and against any loss, damage, liability, claim, demand, action, cost and expense” in connection with the film.
“Now, as a result of a live round getting to the set, bypassing all of the safety checkpoints, and making its way into the supposedly ‘cold’ pistol given to Baldwin, October 21 has become the worst day in the lives of Hutchins’s family,” the arbitration demand said. “It does not diminish that loss to say that October 21 was also the worst day in Alec Baldwin’s life.”
“That day has and will continue to haunt Baldwin,” it added.
Brian Panish, who represents the Hutchins estate, said in a statement to Insider that the arbitration was another attempt by Baldwin to avoid accountability.
“Alec Baldwin once again is trying to avoid liability and accountability for his reckless actions before and on October 21 that resulted in the death of Halyna Hutchins,” Panish said. “Baldwin’s disclosure of personal texts with Matt Hutchins is irrelevant to his demand for arbitration and fails to demonstrate anything other than Hutchins’ dignity in his engagement with Baldwin.”
“It is shameful that Baldwin claims Hutchins’ actions in filing a wrongful death lawsuit derailed the completion of ‘Rust.’ The only action that ended the film’s production was Baldwin’s killing of Halyna Hutchins,” he continued.
In February, Hutchin’s family sued the actor and the film’s producers for the cinematographer’s wrongful death.
The suit was filed in Santa Fe, N.M., by Matthew Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’ widowed husband, and her 9-year-old son Andros Hutchins. The suit alleges that, in addition to Baldwin acting recklessly with the firearm, the production failed to follow industry standards for gun safety due to cost-cutting, which resulted in her death.
“It never should have happened,” Panish said.
Attorney Randi McGinn was even more forceful in condemning Baldwin and the producers.
“We’re used to people coming in from out of town to play cowboy who don’t know how to use guns,” McGinn said. “You don’t hand somebody a gun until you give them safety training… No one should ever die with a real gun on a make-believe movie set.”