Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their wacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Hollywood suffered a tragic loss last week after a gun actor Alec Baldwin discharged during rehearsal for the movie Rust killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and injured director Joel Souza, 48. Although an investigation is still going on and no charges have been filed, accusations of poor working conditions and even suggestions Baldwin is ultimately to blame have been swirling around the internet.
First, complaints of unsafe working conditions surfaced online. Crew members walked off the job in protest on the day of the shooting, and non-union workers were brought in to replace them so that the show could go on. Lane Luper, a camera operator for the film, took to Facebook to complain, saying the working conditions were “absolute dog s—.” He continued:
“At the moment I’m fighting to get my crew, on this movie, hotel rooms when we go long or are too tired to drive the hour back from location to Albuquerque. They either say no or offer a garbage roadside motel that’s used as a homeless shelter. In fact the line producer on the flick complained the motel she booked charges her 10 bucks more per night than the homeless. They haven’t even paid the crew a proper check.”
Assistant director Dave Halls has been accused of disregarding safety protocols. According to the Associated Press, “Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producer of Hulu’s Into the Dark series in 2019 over concerns about assistant director Dave Halls’ behavior on set.”
A search warrant details some information that has Hollywood and local lawmakers scrambling for safer productions. According to the document, less than a week earlier a stunt double had fired two accidental prop gun discharges after being told the gun was “cold,” the Los Angeles Times reported. In the report, Souza said three people handled the gun for the scene: armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who was fairly new to the field, this being only her second movie to work on, Dave Halls, and Baldwin.
Reportedly, Halls took one of the three prop guns that Gutierrez Reed had left on a cart outside (due to COVID restrictions) and then handed the gun to Baldwin and yelled “cold gun.” Baldwin was rehearsing a shooting scene and had aimed the gun at the camera when it discharged.
“Loaded or unloaded, a weapon never gets pointed at another human being,” firearms consultant Bryan Carpenter of Dark Thirty Film Services told the New York Post. “You never let the muzzle of a weapon cover something you don’t intend to destroy. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.”
Peter Lake, filmmaker and former member of the U.S. National Shooting Team, said the fault lies at Baldwin’s doorstep. “The buck stops with Alec Baldwin on every level,” he opined. “It looks very bad for him. At least the captain of the Titanic had the good sense to go down with the ship.”
Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, explained in an op-ed at Fox News how the actor could be charged:
“The problem is that Baldwin was not simply an actor. He was also one of the producers on a site that had reportedly experienced prior discharges and complaints about site safety.”
Turley wrote that New Mexico has a provision that allows “involuntary manslaughter” charges for “the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.” He continued, “If there was a pattern of neglect, including prior discharges from these prop weapons, the producers could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.” In New Mexico, this is a fourth-degree felony that brings a sentence of 18 months in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Cheers and Jeers
Sometimes, HollyWeird players make headlines for silly or bizarre happenings, so here is a collection of newsworthy doings — honorable and dishonorable — by the tenants of Tinseltown.
Superman Colorist Quits DC Comics
Recently, it was revealed that Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s son, Jonathan, would become the new Superman, and that he was going to be a bisexual character. Now, DC Comics has decided to drop the man of steel’s motto “The American Way,” and that change prompted Superman: Son of Kal-El colorist Gabe Eltaeb to forgo renewing his contract, saying the publisher is “ruining these characters.”
During an Oct. 13 YouTube live stream hosted by Cybergfrog creator Ethan Van Sciver, who is also a former DC employee, Eltaeb ranted about the decision. “I’m finishing out my contract with DC,” he said. “I’m tired of them ruining these characters. They don’t have a right to do this.” And then he really let DC Comics have it:
“What really p—ed me off was saying truth, justice, and a better world. F–k that it was Truth, Justice and the American way.
“My Grandpa almost died in the World War II; we don’t have a right to destroy sh– that people died for to give us. It’s a bunch of f—ing nonsense.”
Eltaeb said it wasn’t about being gay or anything along those lines – it was all about changing the motto to Truth, Justice, and a Better Tomorrow
Celebrities say the darndest things …
Always a source of good conservative humor, the Hercules actor took a pop shot at sports and voting this week. “Atlanta Braves are in the World Series,” he tweeted. “Does that mean since Georgia is racist with their voting laws they will be moving the World Series to another city?”
After posting his Las Vegas home for sale, the rocker warned his followers of a scammer. He wrote, “Hey, this guy is a scammer — @genesimmonsprvt. Avoid him. Meanwhile we are tracking him down so he can get a nice comfortable bed next to his cell mate.”
Tune in next week to see what else Tinseltown has planned.
~ Read more from Kelli Ballard.