This morning, the Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced that actor Alec Baldwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter. The charge is for his role in the shooting of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins in 2021 on the set of the movie Rust. Assistant director David Halls was charged with “negligent use of a deadly weapon”, for which he signed a plea agreement. Set armorer Hannah Gutierrez was charged with involuntary manslaughter as well, for her role in mixing up live rounds with dummy rounds in the prop gun that wound up in Baldwin’s hands.
The accidental shooting has proven a landmark case in the entertainment world. The late Halyna Hutchins’ husband’s attorney issued a statement in support of the charges, expressing that no one should be above the law.
— Angenette Levy (@Angenette5) January 19, 2023
Political commentator Hilary Rosen felt that the charges against Baldwin were unjust, given that the props department were the ones who were truly responsible for safety precautions.
I have complete empathy for the family of Haylna Hutchins, but charging Alec Baldwin feels very unjust. When you are told “cold gun” on set, you believe it. A tragic tragic accident. https://t.co/WohW6cYW4R
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) January 19, 2023
Baldwin likely faces 18 months in prison for the shooting, but could face up to five years. Involuntary manslaughter is a second degree felony. The charges have divided the film industry, with some believing that only Gutierrez and Halls deserved to be charged. Others felt that the fatal shooting occurred due to the 2021 entertainment workers shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing IATSE union strike.
This is stupid. Actors can't be held responsible for the safety of prop firearms. He was told the gun was harmless. The fault clearly lies elsewhere.
— Kyle Smith (@rkylesmith) January 19, 2023
Others were in agreement with the charges, expressing that Baldwin should have checked the gun before firing it for the shot.
Manslaughter charges, this whole case is sad and unfortunate. No one should ever die in making entertainment.
Some gun owners have also voiced support for the charges, believing that Baldwin was reckless. While Baldwin appeared on ABC News to tell his side of the story, and went as far as to say that the trigger of the gun was never even pulled. The investigation into the shooting later found this to be untrue.
Baldwin famously portrayed Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live during the Trump presidency, and some Republicans have been quick to poke fun at Baldwin amid the charges.
Maybe Alec Baldwin will be lucky enough to share a cell with Michael Avenatti.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 19, 2023
Some are even comparing the shooting to Kyle Rittenhouse’s intentional shooting of three men at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. The cases bear next to no similarities.
It's interesting to watch the folks who cheered on Kyle Rittenhouse call Alec Baldwin a murderer for a tragic accident.
— Christopher Bouzy (@cbouzy) January 19, 2023
Regardless of support or disagreement with the charges, many hope that this case will serve as a grave reminder of the importance of set safety.
All the people commenting “why is Alec Baldwin being charged with involuntary manslaughter when nobody was charged with Brandon Lee’s death on the set of The Crow” are pissing me off. Somebody SHOULD have been charged for Lee’s death, either the producer or the prop master. FOH!
— Trudy Tective 👽 (@zzzziltoid) January 19, 2023
In a video that circulated on TikTok and Twitter, Baldwin appears distraught at the news of Halyna’s sudden death.
police have released video of the moment Alec Baldwin finds out #Rust #cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died after he accidentally shot her on set. #alecbaldwin #fyp #foryou #trending #viral #hollywood
While the shooting has been proven involuntary, some people continue to place blame entirely on Baldwin given his controversial past.Regardless of this, Baldwin has expressed that the situation traumatized him.
Alec Baldwin is being charged on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of being Alec Baldwin pic.twitter.com/eUpn2XOCFk
— will finchman (@FinchmanWill) January 19, 2023
The charges are to be filed by the end of this month. The impending trial will determine convictions of Baldwin, Halls, and Gutierrez. Despite the division of opinion the charges have caused among politicians, the film industry, and fans of the actor, there’s no denying that the case has impacted entertainment forever.