Actor and producer Alec Baldwin doubled down on his defense of working conditions on the movie “Rust” by sharing on Tuesday what appeared to be social media posts of a crew member who said complaints on set have been overblown.
Baldwin, who fired the gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, shared seven screenshots of comments that appear to have been posted by Terese Magpale Davis, a Georgia-based costume designer who worked on the movie. The context of the comments — to whom Davis was writing, and whether Baldwin was reposting her comments with her knowledge or approval — was unclear.
In the comments, first reported by Deadline, Davis defended the producers of the beleaguered western as well as the two crew members at the center of the investigation, armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls.
“Our AD never seemed flippant about safety,” Davis wrote, adding later: “Am I angry with him? Yes. But I won’t jump on the bandwagon and pretend he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.”
Davis did not immediately respond to The Times’ efforts to verify that the post was hers. Baldwin also was not immediately available for comment.
Baldwin’s reposting of a colleague’s apparent defense of the movie comes after he publicly fielded questions about the tragedy for the first time this week. Addressing photographers in Vermont, he described the “Rust” team as “a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together” in New Mexico. Assistant director Halls also addressed Hutchins’ death, issuing a statement that said the movie industry needed to “reevaluate its values and practices.”
In response to reports that cost-conscious producers created an unsafe work environment, the posting attributed to Davis said the crew never worked more than 12½-hour days. She said the camera crew, who The Times reported walked out because of pay, safety and housing issues, were provided hotel rooms. “They just didn’t feel like they were fancy enough,” Davis wrote. After the camera crew walked, nonunion replacements were brought in.
The comments attributed to Davis described the producers of the movie, who include Baldwin, as having worked tirelessly alongside the crew. “Maybe before you send those letters telling the Thomasville producers what you think of them for hiring non union you might want to wait and find out what the majority of those of us who worked with them actually feel about them,” she wrote. Among the producers of the movie are the founders of Georgia-based production company Thomasville Pictures, led by “Rust” executive producer Allen Cheney and producer Ryan Smith.
The posting suggested that a union representative told the production “not to give in to the camera crew because they were demanding things the union does not require.”
As for the relative inexperience of the armorer, Gutierrez-Reed, Davis said, “I’ll fight to have our armorers have higher standards they must pass to be in that position where they hold all of our lives in their hands. But I’m not okay with using her to be the poster child for better hours.”
Davis said she will never get the sound of the gunshot or the screams of director Joel Souza out of her head.
“Maybe you could just not be one more person with a pitchfork in a mob that has no idea what you’re talking about,” she wrote, “because you weren’t there.”
Julia Wick contributed to this report.