‘Rust’ Producers Dispute New Mexico Safety Agency’s Penalty

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  • 09/21/2022

Producers creating the movie “Rust” are disputing claims that they knew firearm safety was a concern before the film’s cinematographer was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin. 

Rust Movie Productions LLC filed a notice of contest on Tuesday, arguing that the findings by the New Mexico Environmental Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau - which last month fined the company $136,793 for its “willful and serious” violation of workplace safety procedures - have no clue what it’s talking about in connection to a fire extinguisher they said was not properly inspected and maintained, Fox News reports

"The supposed ‘fire extinguisher’ NMED claims should have been inspected and maintained is not a real fire extinguisher – it is a special effects device used to create fake smoke," the motion states. "The attempt to extend the application of a fire extinguisher regulation to a special effects device shows their misunderstanding of the film industry."

Last month, the safety board issued the movie company its highest level of citation and maximum fine following its investigation into the deadly shot discharged last October that left Hutchins dead and film director Joel Souza wounded. 

The bureau also documented gun safety complaints from crew members that allegedly went unheeded and claimed weapons specialists were not allowed to make decisions about additional safety training.

Meanwhile, producers maintain that production heads enforced all safety protocols on set, including its alleged addressing of three previous misfire incidents.

"The first was not a misfire at all and did not involve a firearm – it was a harmless noise from a special effects ‘popper.’ The other two involved discharges of blank rounds," the production company argues in its filing.. "Contrary to NMED’s statements, none of the ‘misfires’ violated firearm safety protocols on the set and appropriate corrective actions were taken, including safety briefings of cast and crew."

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