From the LA Times:
Hours before actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of “Rust” with a prop gun, a half-dozen camera crew workers walked off the set to protest working conditions.
The camera operators and their assistants were frustrated by the conditions surrounding the low-budget film, including complaints about long hours, long commutes and collecting their paychecks, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.
Safety protocols standard in the industry, including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on the “Rust” set near Santa Fe, the sources said. They said at least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to a production manager about gun safety on the set.
Three crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set that day said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges on Saturday.
Baldwin’s stunt-double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks, two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.
“There should have been an investigation into what happened,” said the crew member. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”
A colleague was so alarmed by the prop gun misfires he sent a text message to the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by the Times.
The actor was preparing to film a scene in which he pulls a gun out of a holster, according to a source close to the production. Crew members had already shouted “cold gun” on the New Mexico set. The filmmaking team was lining up its camera angles and had yet to retreat to the video village, an on-set area where crew gathers to watch filming from a distance via a monitor.
Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he repeated the action, ammunition flew toward the trio around the monitor. The projectile whizzed by the camera operator but penetrated Hutchins near her shoulder, then continued through to Souza.
Multiple accidental discharges, guns not checked, guns called cold when they were hot, this incident was going to happen on set.
This was a low budget film where every corner was cut until someone died.
Baldwin was a producer, so he may be legally culpable in this negligent death if he created the unsafe working conditions.
This whole situation was fucked.