Serge Svetnoy, who worked as a gaffer on the sets of the film Rust, and witnessed the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, has filed a negligence lawsuit against the producers of the film, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, accuses the producers and others of failing to implement safety standards and alleges that they allowed “a revolver loaded with live ammunition to be pointed at living persons on the Rust set.”
Hutchins died on the sets of the film after actor Alec Baldwin, who also serves as one of the producers on the project, misfired a prop gun while rehearsing a scene with the firearm, in October. While Hutchins was fatally shot, and pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital, director Joel Souza was left seriously injured.
The lawsuit also names 24-year-old armorer Hannah Gutierrez, who was in charge of weapons, and assistant director Dave Halls, who had allegedly handed over the prop gun to Baldwin after declaring it a “cold gun.” Rust was Gutierrez’s second project as an armorer. Halls is said to have a history of not following safety precautions, including on earlier projects such as Hulu’s Into the Dark and the film Freedom’s Path.
Svetnoy had earlier slammed the producers in a Facebook post, in which he stressed on the importance of hiring only professionals.
He wrote, “It’s the fault of negligence and unprofessionalism. The negligence from the person who was supposed to check the weapon on the site did not do this; the person who had to announce that the loaded gun was on the site did not do this; the person who should have checked this weapon before bringing it to the set did not do it.”
“I’m sure that we had the professionals in every department, but one – the department that was responsible for the weapons. There is no way a twenty-four-year-old woman can be a professional with armory,” Svetnoy added in the Facebook post.
Last month, a New Mexico film and television union also criticized producers of the film for replacing its crew with non-union members and turning a blind eye to complaints about the working conditions on the sets of the film.
While Halls later admitted that he should have checked the gun before giving it to Baldwin, Gutierrez’s attorney raised the possibility of a sabotage despite the district attorney denying the same.
“We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived,” her attorney Jason Bowles said.
While the New Mexico police has recovered evidence, investigation continues and production on the film remains stalled.