Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ camera crew walked off the set in protest before the fatal shooting

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:

Hours before actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of “Rust” with a prop gun, a half-dozen camera crew workers walked off the set to protest working conditions.

The camera operators and their assistants were frustrated by the conditions surrounding the low-budget film, including complaints of long hours, long commutes and collecting their paychecks, according to three people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to comment.

Safety protocols standard in the industry, including gun inspections, were not strictly followed on the “Rust” set near Santa Fe, the sources said. They said at least one of the camera operators complained last weekend to production managers about gun safety on the set.

Three crew members who were present at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set that day said they were particularly concerned about two accidental prop gun discharges on Saturday.

Baldwin’s stunt-double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks, one of crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.

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