Last week Hollywood actor Alec Baldwin discharged a loaded gun on the set of his new western film, Rust, killing Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins and injuring Director Joel Souza.
Outspoken English broadcaster Piers Morgan has weighed in on the tragic news in his recent column for The Daily Mail, asserting that the incident was “an accident waiting to happen” on account of Baldwin’s own neglect as an Executive Producer for the movie he’s also starring in.
Before openly sharing his opinion on the incident, Morgan notes that Alec Baldwin “thinks fellow Americans should only be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to own firearms if they go through a lengthy stringent procedure to ensure they are fit and proper enough citizens to possess a deadly weapon.”
The English broadcaster goes on to quote Baldwin, who in a past interview said he was “in favour of people owning guns but I’m in favour of there being the most arduous process for them to qualify to own that gun.”
What’s more, Morgan prefaces his column saying, “The more we learn about Alec Baldwin’s deadly shooting, the more culpable he looks for being Executive Producer of a chaotic, dangerous sh*t-show run by amateurish cowboys that made the tragedy an accident waiting to happen.”
Piers Morgan also explains that he did initially show his support for Baldwin, as social media rushed to blame the actor for the killing of Hutchins on the set of his new movie, writing, “If it’s true that Alec Baldwin was handed a prop gun containing live rounds of ammunition, then the focus of people’s ire shouldn’t be on the guy who innocently fired it without knowing – but whoever gave it to him and must have known.”
As more evidence has piled up following the tragic event that took place last Thursday, Morgan’s initial reaction has taken somewhat of a turn, proposing that Alec Baldwin’s negligence as an Executive Producer for the film is as equally questionable as his pulling of the trigger.
“However, the more we’ve learned about this appalling incident, the more questions have been raised about Baldwin’s own culpability for the chaotically dangerous and amateurish working culture on the set of ‘Rust’ that led to the shooting,” wrote Morgan.
He continued, “What we know so far, from affidavits given to police and search warrants executed by Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, is that the shooting occurred after Baldwin and members of the production crew were setting up a shot that required him to ‘cross-draw a revolver’ – take it from a holster on the opposite side of the body to the draw hand – and point it at the camera.”
The affidavit that Morgan is alluding to was initially submitted the day after the incident, but it was only made public on Monday. In it, Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department Detective Joel Cano explained, “During the filming of the movie, the Assistant Director (Dave Halls) grabbed one of three ‘prop-guns’ that was set-up by the Armorer (Hannah Gutierrez), which was on a cart.”
Cano continued, “The cart is a gray in color rolling table with two layers and was left outside of the structure due to Covid-19 restrictions,” further adding that he learnt “one of the prop-guns was then grabbed by the assistant director (Dave Halls) and he took it to the actor identified as Alec Baldwin who was inside of the structure.”
According to the information Detective Cano gathered, it was Assistant Director Dave Halls who handed the gun to Baldwin, yelling “Cold Gun” which is an expression used to indicate that the gun is not loaded with live rounds.
Piers Morgan also brings up that David Halls had “previously been the subject of complaints around his regard for safety protocols,” and that these concerns were brought forward by prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician Maggie Goll.
According to the English broadcaster, Goll issued a statement in which she revealed that an internal complaint was filed with the executive producers of Hulu’s Into the Dark, denouncing Dave Halls behaviour on the set, and stating that “he disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.”
Morgan mentions that it had already been “asserted that Hall didn’t know the gun was loaded, either,” but he also raises the question, “why shout ‘cold gun’ if you don’t actually know it’s a cold gun?” proposing that “if he really didn’t know whether the gun was loaded or not, then who did? Someone must have done.”
Things get even murkier for Alec Baldwin, as Morgan reveals that some members of the crew blame the movie’s producers for the death of Halyna Hutchins — namely Baldwin himself for hiring 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed as the film’s armourer.
Specifically, Morgan explains that it was Rust’s chief electrician Serge Svetnoy who blames the producers for the death of the 43-year-old Director of Photography, who accuses them of “negligence and unprofessionalism” for the poor handling of weapons on the film’s set.
Even more concerning is the fact that sources on Rust told LA Times that there had already been reports of “on-set gun safety issues and misfires” a few days prior to the tragic incident that ended with Halyna Hutchins’ life.
“There should have been an investigation into what happened. There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush,” sources told the outlet.
Another member of the crew was quoted saying, “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” suggesting that Hutchins’ death could’ve been avoided had the crew’s concerns been timely addressed by Baldwin and other producers.
“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company, ” reads an official statement issued by Rust Movie Productions.
It continues, “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”
Morgan asserts that Alec Baldwin should’ve been aware of the previous incidents, as it is his role as an Executive Producer to know every detail about the film’s production, especially when it comes to safety measures involving guns.
“Alec Baldwin must have known about the gun discharge incidents, and crew concerns over the armorer’s inexperience and the assistant director’s record of dangerous on-set safety misconduct, because he wasn’t just a jobbing actor on the movie – he was a named Executive Producer,” Morgan asserted.
Alec Baldwin did address the incident on Twitter, writing, “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Piers Morgan then stated, “I don’t doubt the sincerity of his sadness at the shooting, nor that he had no idea the gun he fired was loaded,” adding, “But what I do now doubt is Alec Baldwin’s depiction of it as a ‘tragic accident.'”
“Given what we have discovered about the circumstances leading up to the moment he pulled the trigger, this was an accident waiting to happen,” he concluded.
What do you make of Piers Morgan’s comments on Alec Baldwin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.