Alec Baldwin’s involuntary manslaughter charge has been branded “wrong and uninformed” by actors union SAG-AFTRA.
The 64-year-old actor is set to be prosecuted over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of 'Rust' in October 2021, but the organisation have insisted the star shouldn't be held responsible for the tragedy.
SAG-AFTRA said in a statement: “The death of Halyna Hutchins is a tragedy, and all the more so because of its preventable nature. It is not a failure of duty or a criminal act on the part of any performer.
“The prosecutor’s contention that an actor has a duty to ensure the functional and mechanical operation of a firearm on a production set is wrong and uninformed.
“An actor’s job is not to be a firearms or weapons expert. Firearms are provided for their use under the guidance of multiple expert professionals directly responsible for the safe and accurate operation of that firearm.
“In addition, the employer is always responsible for providing a safe work environment at all times, including hiring and supervising the work of professionals trained in weapons.”
The statement highlighted film industry standards from the Labor Management Safety Commission that require “an experienced, qualified armorer to be put in charge of all handling, use, and safekeeping of firearms on set”.
It added: “The guidelines do not make it the performer’s responsibility to check any firearm. Performers train to perform, and they are not required or expected to be experts on guns or experienced in their use.
“The industry assigns that responsibility to qualified professionals who oversee their use and handling in every aspect.
“Anyone issued a firearm on set must be given training and guidance in its safe handling and use, but all activity with firearms on a set must be under the careful supervision and control of the professional armorer and the employer.”
The movie's armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, has also been charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with the tragedy,
while Assistant Director Dave Halls has agreed a plea deal for the charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon.
Last October, Alec and the other producers on 'Rust' settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Halyna's widower Matthew.
As well as a settlement, they agreed to complete the movie with Matthew serving as an executive producer.
Production on 'Rust' was due to resume this month.