Just hours before Alec Baldwin accidentally fatally fired a prop gun, injuring one crew member and killing another, crew members of the film walked out in protest of ‘working conditions’.
Director of photography Halyna Hutchins, aged 42, passed away on Thursday, October 21, after Baldwin accidentally shot a prop gun that contained live ammunition on the film set of 19th Century western film, Rust. The film’s director, 48-year-old Joel Souza, also suffered an injury in the incident.
However, before the fatal shooting took place, half a dozen camera crew workers reportedly walked out in protest.
The complaints made against the low-budget film included frustration over long hours and not being paid enough, according to three sources close to the film, Los Angeles Times reports.
At 6.30am, on the day of the fatal accident, the camera operators and their assistants went to work as normal, however, upon arriving, they began to pack up their belongings before proceeding to walk out, one crew member said.
The shooting of the film began on October 6, and from the very beginning, there had reportedly been a feeling of dissatisfaction among crew members.
Production members claimed the company had said it would pay for hotel rooms throughout the duration of their stay in Santa Fe, however, it is alleged that crews instead had to drive for 50 miles to set each day, after being placed in Albuquerque.
They also stated that several non-union crew members came to replace the original camera crew, who are members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.
They claimed that a member of the production team demanded the union members leave, or that security would be summoned by producers to remove them.
The source said:
Corners were being cut – and they brought in non-union people so they could continue shooting.
There was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.
Around six hours after the walkout, the fatal shooting took place, with calls made to 911 at around 1.50pm.
Director, Souza, has since been released from hospital after undergoing treatment for a shoulder injury.
Baldwin took to Twitter to address the incident, calling it a ‘tragic accident’ and stating that he had ‘no words to convey’ his ‘shock and sadness’.
The production has since been halted, and both Baldwin and Rust Movies Productions LLC have expressed they are ‘fully cooperating with the police’, as the investigation continues.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677