Alec Baldwin can’t seem to help himself when it comes to vocalizing all the wrong things at the wrong time, and that has never been more apparent than now.
This week, the embattled actor talked at a moderated event at the Boulder International Film Festival about the ongoing lawsuits he’s facing stemming from the accidental shooting and subsequent death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins that took place on the set of the film Rust last year. Baldwin accused some of the parties who filed lawsuits of being primarily motivated by greed, claiming these parties are in pursuit of “deep pocket litigants.”
“What you have is a certain group of litigants on whatever side, who their attitude is, well, the people who likely seem negligent have enough money, and the people who have money are not negligent, but we’re not going to let that stop us from doing what we need to do in terms of litigation,” he told the live audience, before adding: “Why sue people if you’re not going to get money? That’s what you’re doing.”
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost five months since tragedy befell the New Mexico set of the western Rust, which Baldwin was both starring in as well as producing. Hutchins, a renowned cinematographer, was fatally shot after Baldwin was allegedly practicing maneuvering a shotgun. The weapon was supposed to be a prop gun without live ammunition, according to standard protocols and reports about the tragedy.
Almost two months after the incident that also injured Rust director Joel Souza, Baldwin appeared on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos to attempt to clear himself of any wrongdoing. The actor pleaded his “innocence” during the sit-down interview and refuted claims that he aimed the weapon at anyone or pulled the trigger.
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“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” he told Stephanopoulos. “Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”
Not long after that interview aired, Hutchins’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Baldwin and some of his colleagues who played vital roles in producing the film. Matt Hutchins, Halyna’s bereaved husband, recently visited the Today studios to chat with Hoda Kotb about the ongoing investigation into his wife’s death. He didn’t hold back his contempt for Baldwin’s desperate need to emphasize his own victimhood in public as a way to absolve himself.
“Watching him, I just felt so angry. I was just so angry to see him talk about her death so publicly, in such a detailed way, and then to not accept any responsibility after having just described killing her,” Hutchins told Kotb.
It’s nothing short of appalling to witness Baldwin’s victimhood tour when you consider the circumstances surrounding the death of Halyna Hutchins. Dozens of reports have shown chaos and recklessness allegedly had crippled the set of Rust from the first day of filming. As a producer on the film, Baldwin should know that it’s impossible for him to wash his hands clean of this situation. Producer isn’t just a sweet title in name only. It’s an immense responsibility to carry from start to finish. Every detail has to be ironed out. Following mandated safety protocols, which include hiring an experienced prop master on set to prevent the unthinkable from happening, is part of the producer’s job.
Baldwin can be adamant about his innocence and attempt to place the blame elsewhere, and perhaps even treat the lawsuits against him with smug mockery, but the reality is that he cannot extricate himself from this narrative. He can, however, stop talking.