Alec Baldwin sued by relatives of slain ‘Rust’ cinematographer

Ukrainian relatives of Halyna Hutchins seek damages from Baldwin, who killed Hutchins when a gun discharged on set.

A memorial for slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins
Candles surround a memorial for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in October 2021 [File: Kevin Mohatt/Reuters]

The Ukraine-based relatives of a slain cinematographer are seeking damages for her death from actor Alec Baldwin in connection with the fatal shooting on the set of a Western movie, under a civil lawsuit filed in the United States.

The new lawsuit against Baldwin was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Thursday, on behalf of the parents of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins as well as her younger sister. She works as a nurse in Ukraine on the outskirts of the capital city Kyiv, while her Ukrainian husband is fighting with the country’s army in its defence against Russian forces that invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Hutchins died shortly after being wounded during a rehearsal for the movie Rust in October 2021, held at the film’s ranch set on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Baldwin was pointing a pistol at Hutchins when it discharged, killing Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

The lawsuit alleges negligence and deprivation of benefits, based on the emotional or financial support Hutchins had provided to her younger sister Svetlana Zemko and parents Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych.

The lawsuit also names as defendants a long list of Rust crew members, an ammunition supplier, producers of the film and affiliated businesses.

Separately, Baldwin and Rust’s weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed are confronting felony charges of involuntary manslaughter in a New Mexico district court. They are scheduled to make their first court appearance, via remote access, later this month, in a hearing during which pleas may be entered.

Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed have said they will dispute the charges, while an assistant director has agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer based in Santa Monica, California, described Zemko as a working, emergency room nurse who is raising an infant and a four-year-old child while her husband fights on behalf of Ukraine in the war against Russia.

At a news conference, Allred said that Zemko “had a very close and loving relationship with her big sister, Halyna, and she feels strongly that anyone who is responsible for her loss must be held accountable”.

Lawyers for Baldwin could not be reached immediately for comment.

Matthew Hutchins, Halyna Hutchins’s widower, reached an undisclosed settlement with Baldwin and other producers of Rust late last year. Part of the settlement calls for Matthew to be a producer on Rust as it potentially resumes filming.

Baldwin has sought to clear his name by suing people involved in handling and supplying the loaded gun. Also a co-producer on Rust, Baldwin said he was told the gun was safe.

In his lawsuit, Baldwin said that, while working on camera angles with Hutchins, he pointed the gun in her direction, pulling back and releasing the hammer of the weapon, which discharged.

The new lawsuit against Baldwin, though filed in California, relies on provisions of New Mexico state law regarding the depravation of benefits, also known as “loss of consortium”.

Source: The Associated Press