Alec Baldwin did what?

SuperMatt

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Assistant director hands actor a loaded gun that he knows will be pointed at the director. Maybe the assistant wanted to be the director?
 

MEJHarrison

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Now if I had been him, I would have checked it myself before pointing it in anyone’s direction. 🤔

I watched a video about this. He made the point that regardless of the situation, when someone hands you a unloaded gun, you treat it as a loaded gun until you verify yourself that it's unloaded. And if someone is standing there watching you do that and you hand them the gun, they should treat it like a loaded weapon until they verify for themselves that it is unloaded. Doesn't matter that you just watched someone else do it. You check for yourself. Every time.
 

lizkat

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Lotta object lessons here, we may never know who needed to learn some of them. Low budget film and it looks like we know where some of the cost cutting was taking place anyway. IATSE union crew members departing the film over safety concerns before the incident should have been a wakeup call for the rest of the crew and the actors as well.
 

Eric

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I watched a video about this. He made the point that regardless of the situation, when someone hands you a unloaded gun, you treat it as a loaded gun until you verify yourself that it's unloaded. And if someone is standing there watching you do that and you hand them the gun, they should treat it like a loaded weapon until they verify for themselves that it is unloaded. Doesn't matter that you just watched someone else do it. You check for yourself. Every time.
You have to wonder how many actors have actually followed this protocol to date, I mean they're actors and it seems unlikely that they go through props to confirm they're what they're supposed to be, including guns. That stuff is supposed to be handled by experts.

I know the second amendment nuts are having a field day with this but hindsight is always 20/20, going forward you can bet there will be some changes though.
 

ronntaylor

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Assistant director hands actor a loaded gun that he knows will be pointed at the director. Maybe the assistant wanted to be the director?
Well that assistant director pled guilty and got off relatively easy: a suspended sentence and six months of probation. The prosecutor's statement announcing the charges reads like a vendetta against Baldwin.


The terms of Halls’ plea agreement include a suspended sentence and six months of probation. His attorney, Lisa Torraco, said in a statement that “this is the best outcome for Mr. Halls and the case.”
 

shadow puppet

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lizkat

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Well that assistant director pled guilty and got off relatively easy: a suspended sentence and six months of probation. The prosecutor's statement announcing the charges reads like a vendetta against Baldwin.


How does a live round ever end up in a designated "prop gun" to begin with? Someone takes the gun to a range or home to mess around with shooting at pop bottles on a fallen tree limb or some such, then carelessly leaves one in the chamber and takes the gun back to the set?

I can't believe the level of carelessness that would suggest in a movie set armorer.

So I just don't get how the setup for this situation can happen. Mind you I don't say it wasn't accidental, just don't understand how live ammo ends up in a prop gun... ever.
 

ronntaylor

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Drat. Paywall. Will look elsewhere.
Ugh!!! Just realized that I used someone's account to read the story. Sorry I can't provide a free look. I've read about the charges and DA's statement at various other places. They pretty much all have the relevant info.

Try this Yahoo! Entertainment story

 

ronntaylor

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How does a live round ever end up in a designated "prop gun" to begin with? Someone takes the gun to a range or home to mess around with shooting at pop bottles on a fallen tree limb or some such, then carelessly leaves one in the chamber and takes the gun back to the set?

I can't believe the level of carelessness that would suggest in a movie set armorer.

So I just don't get how the setup for this situation can happen. Mind you I don't say it wasn't accidental, just don't understand how live ammo ends up in a prop gun... ever.
It's much more puzzling than the scenario you sketched. There was 150 live bullets found on-site. Including on the ammo belt Baldwin was wearing. IIRC, members of the production crew were using live ammo with the so-called prop guns for target practice when not filming. So the armorer was very, very sloppy with her duties. There's no way that the gun should have been out after shooting. There's no way she properly checked the gun before setting it up on the tray. And her lawyer is blaming the 1st Assistant Director Halls for taking the gun from the tray, not her handing it to her. Wouldn't that be her fault as well as only she should have been allowed access to the gun before Halls took possession to give to Baldwin and others.

Halls claimed he didn't check the gun, just took it from the tray. Yet several people said he yelled "Cold" or "Cold gun" before handing it to Baldwin. He should have never called that out if he didn't ensure it was indeed a safe prop to handle. I'm a bit surprised that the Line Director, Gabrielle Pickle, wasn't charged as well. According to the call sheet, she was the production manager for at least that day, and at least one other day of filming when a prop gun misfired. There's no indication that it was ever reported properly and obviously, it wasn't handled sufficiently if a 2nd (or possibly 3rd?) misfiring led to tragedy. IIRC, she hired the key people (Halls, the armorer, and most/all production crews). And she caused tension on the set with many crew members walking off, and then that very morning several camera crew members being escorted away from the set by police at her request.

I wonder if attorneys for Baldwin and the armorer will float the idea that a disgruntled employee(s) could have knowingly placed live ammo in the prop gun due to tensions? Baldwin's lawyer will most definitely place the blame on Halls with his shoddy record of being fired from a previous larger movie set for the same thing happening -- luckily no one was injured.

The Special Prosecutor mentioned Baldwin was a producer, so he had culpability/responsibility. Yet the director was also a producer and set up the practice gun play. I'm sure him getting hit with the bullet that killed the cinematographer played a role in not charging him. A friend said that on many sets the director and assistant director would have a say in safety protocols. Some of the disgruntled camera crew members complained of unsafe, dangerous shot setups. They definitely faulted the Line Producer Pickle. Can't remember if they also faulted the director for safety lapses.
 

AG_PhamD

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I think Baldwin and the armorer should absolutely be charged. It’s clear the armorer did not responsibly fulfill her role. That’s very obvious. I really do think law enforcement needs to get to the bottom of where these live rounds came from. AFAIK that mystery has not be solved.

Baldwin as head producer oversaw the production, including the reported safety issues, as well as for improperly handling the gun. Anyone who has ever been trained to fire a gun knows you never point a gun at someone, you always check to make sure the gun is empty, and you should only have your finger on the trigger if you intend to fire the weapon. Those with slightly more knowledge would know “dry firing” (pulling trigger without ammo) some guns (generally including old revolvers, probably including the one Baldwin had) is not good for the firing pin and should not be done.

Based on what other celebrities and movie makers have said, productions usually have extensive fire arms training and Baldwin would have been well aware of industry standard safety protocols, including the actor always checking (in addition to others), never pointing a real gun at another human or camera, etc.

It seems to me the armorer deserves a greater punishment than Baldwin given her responsibilities. I can only imagine the horror Baldwin experienced on that day, but he appears to have been negligent himself and did not appreciate the risks in handling a firearm.

Also not helping his case is that his recollection of events in the police interview is very different than what is found in the video of the incident.
 

lizkat

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It's much more puzzling than the scenario you sketched.

Your post made me look through a few reports from when the incident was first reported. This one from NBC was pretty hair raising. it was filed in late November of 2021.


The scenarios for rounding up of ammo for prop guns and any possible training requirements sound more casual and even haphazard than I had figured could be possible. Complacency about what exactly is in the ammo boxes, or mixtures of different ammo in a box... should not even be an option...

Honestly if I were an actor in some film with scenes requiring use of prop guns, I'd be freaked out at the very thought anyone could be anything but meticulous about prep of the weapons and that no live rounds were in them or in the staging area.

It sounds so messy... with all the lawsuits and counter accusations, it may be difficult to get at facts and evidence adding up to a "beyond reasonable doubt" conviction on any charge.
 

Huntn

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My possibly uninformed thoughts:
  • This reminds me of holding the pilot responsible, if the mechanic fails to fix an aircraft mechanical issue properly, or a fueler puts the wrong fuel in the aircraft. Yes pilots are required to preflight the aircraft, but there are limits as to how much can be seen,
  • …so when it comes to bullets and verifying the ammo in a gun, it’s not that easy or is It? Obviously it would be easier to check a revolver than a magazine weapon.
  • As an actor, to protect myself, I personally would check the gun, with the caveat that it is easy to tell blank rounds from live rounds. Is it? I’d suggest regulations that require clearly marked ammo as dummy rounds for this purpose.
  • Would I charge the actor with negligent manslaughter? Only if there were clear regulations/laws on the books that define such a role for the actor to perform.
  • If I understand it correctly, it’s the prop crew’s responsibility to verify a gun is properly loaded with blank rounds And there is where the legal responsibility should fall.
 
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ronntaylor

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Baldwin as head producer oversaw the production, including the reported safety issues, as well as for improperly handling the gun. Anyone who has ever been trained to fire a gun knows you never point a gun at someone, you always check to make sure the gun is empty, and you should only have your finger on the trigger if you intend to fire the weapon. Those with slightly more knowledge would know “dry firing” (pulling trigger without ammo) some guns (generally including old revolvers, probably including the one Baldwin had) is not good for the firing pin and should not be done.
There is no indication that Baldwin was "head producer" on RUST. It was a passion project for him and the director, another of the five named producers. They co-wrote the script and had worked on the project for years. Baldwin was being paid scale, IIRC, with the intent to financially benefit later if the film was successful enough. So his producer title/credit would generate points (a percentage of profits). He had been operating under the safety protocols put in place by the armorer. The managing producer was Line Producer Gabrielle Pickle -- she has at least 20 producer credits prior to RUST. She was the money person, hired most (all?) of the staff, including the green armorer. She was on the Call Sheet for managing production that day. And she was the one that caused strife with crew members, especially the camera crews that thought there were unsafe work conditions which included at least one, maybe two prior gun mishaps. She apparently neither documented nor reported the incident(s) as required. She had the Sheriff's office escort camera crew members off the set hours before the tragedy.

The armorers equipment was being used for target practice according to reports. She either knew that and/or her equipment was not securely locked up to prevent something like that from happening. And after the fact she's suing the ammo supplier for including live ammo. Despite that fact that she was supposed to verify that all ammo was dummy, not live. First Assistant Director Halls really screwed up as he now says he didn't check the gun before taking it from the table supposedly set up by the armorer. He was fired from another movie set in 2019 for a misfire on set that injured a crew member. He was fired along with the armorer as should have been the case for the first gun mishap on the RUST set.
 

Herdfan

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  • As an actor, to protect myself, I personally would check the gun, with the caveat that it is easy to tell blank rounds from live rounds. Is it? I’d suggest regulations that require clearly marked ammo as dummy rounds for this purpose.

Yes. Botton to Top : Blank, Wad-Cutter, Hollow Point

1674313305676.png
 

bwinter88

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I work in the industry and neither I nor my friends can wrap our heads around why Baldwin was charged. Certainly he holds no responsibility as the actor as he was directed to handle the gun by others who were responsible for making the gun safe; and as ronntaylor pointed out there are many others who are responsible on the production side. We've been here before with the Brandon Lee incident. This smells nakedly political—either against Baldwin or for the benefit of the NM film industry. But it's also hard to believe any prosecutor would bring charges that they didn't think they could win.
 

Huntn

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I work in the industry and neither I nor my friends can wrap our heads around why Baldwin was charged. Certainly he holds no responsibility as the actor as he was directed to handle the gun by others who were responsible for making the gun safe; and as ronntaylor pointed out there are many others who are responsible on the production side. We've been here before with the Brandon Lee incident. This smells nakedly political—either against Baldwin or for the benefit of the NM film industry. But it's also hard to believe any prosecutor would bring charges that they didn't think they could win.
I’m trying to remember the specifics of the Brandon Lee case, something about a cold fire where a bullet is lodged in the barrel previously, and then a blank is fired which propelled the bullet into Lee.
 

Roller

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I work in the industry and neither I nor my friends can wrap our heads around why Baldwin was charged. Certainly he holds no responsibility as the actor as he was directed to handle the gun by others who were responsible for making the gun safe; and as ronntaylor pointed out there are many others who are responsible on the production side. We've been here before with the Brandon Lee incident. This smells nakedly political—either against Baldwin or for the benefit of the NM film industry. But it's also hard to believe any prosecutor would bring charges that they didn't think they could win.
What's the standard of practice in the industry? When an actor is handed a gun by someone authorized to ensure it's in a safe condition and indicates that verbally, is the actor expected to verify the gun's status independently?
 
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