Replacement, non-union worker was in charge of Alec Baldwin’s deadly prop gun

The film crew member in charge of Alec Baldwin’s deadly prop gun was a nonunion worker who was hired to replace a union member, The Post has learned.

The unidentified prop master was “just brought in” before the shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 48, on the New Mexico set of “Rust,” a source involved in the movie said Friday.

Another source briefed on the situation told The Post that a crew of unionized workers walked off the set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe on Thursday morning over poor safety protocols, before Baldwin, 68, fired the gun later that day.

Those workers were replaced by a nonunion crew, the source said.

The prop gun also misfired twice on Saturday and once during the previous week, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for “Rust,” was killed in the incident.
Andriy Semenyuk via REUTERS

That information reportedly came from a knowledgeable crew member who told the Times that “there was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”

On a 911 recording obtained by TMZ, a woman who identified herself to the operator as the movie’s script supervisor can be heard blaming the incident on someone whose name was apparently bleeped out.

“OK, this f–king [bleep] that yelled at me at lunch asking about revisions, this motherf–ker,” she said, apparently to someone nearby.

A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's offices.
A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s offices.
Jim Weber/The New Mexican

“Did you see him lean over my desk and yell at me? He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happened.”

An unidentified crew member also told the Times that Hutchins had been advocating for safer working conditions for her team before she was killed.

The Times reported that a half-dozen unionized camera crew workers walked off the set Thursday to protest their working conditions.

The crew reportedly showed up as scheduled at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday but began gathering up their gear and personal possessions to leave.

The crew member in charge of the gun was "just brought in," for the movie.
The crew member in charge of the gun was “just brought in,” for the movie.
Instagram
A distraught Alec Baldwin lingers in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's offices
The prop gun reportedly misfired multiple times before the fatal incident.
Jim Weber/The New Mexican

Some sort of settlement was apparently reached because the Times said the workers — members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — later spent about an hour setting up their gear.

But at some point, several nonunion workers reportedly showed up to replace them and a member of the production staff ordered the union crew to leave.

The production staffer threatened to call in security to remove the union workers if they didn’t go voluntarily, the Times said.

Security guards block the Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Security guards block the Bonanza Creek Ranch.
Albuquerque Journal via AP

The shooting that killed Hutchins and also wounded director Joel Souza, 48, took place about six hours after the union workers left, The Times said.

“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” the knowledgeable crew member told the Times.

The unionized camera crew’s complaints reportedly included long hours and wage issues.

In addition, the Times said that workers on the low-budget Western were promised that they’d be given no-cost hotel rooms in Santa Fe.

Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie.
Alec Baldwin on the set of the movie.
Instagram

But shortly after filming began on Oct. 6, the various crews were reportedly instead told they had to stay overnight in Albuquerque, about 50 miles away.

On Tuesday, Hutchins posted a photo of the movie’s cast and crew on her Instagram page, along with a shoutout to her union.

“Standing in #IAsolidarity with our @IATSE crew here in New Mexico on RUST,” she wrote.

The revelations of alarming safety worries and related labor strife raise the specter of a looming legal storm that’s likely to engulf Baldwin, who’s named first among the dozen producers of “Rust” who are listed on the IMDb website.

A gun similar to the one that was used on set.
A gun similar to the one that was used on set.
AFP via Getty Images

Los Angeles lawyer Louis Shapiro, who has appeared as a legal analyst on Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, said he expected Thursday’s shooting would lead a wrongful-death suit and potentially a criminal case.

“The question is: Who is the one who is exercising negligence here? Who wasn’t meeting their duty of care to make sure that the gun was either loaded with the right ammunition or blanks?” he told The Post.

“Where is the duty of care to make sure that that gun is properly loaded and properly used? That duty doesn’t lie with the actor. The actor was just handed something. The duty of care lies with the prop person.”

Sources told The Post that unionized workers walked off the set of the movie early Thursday due to poor safety conditions.
Sources told The Post that unionized workers walked off the set of the movie early Thursday due to poor safety conditions.
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A spokesman for the IATSE — which also represents prop masters —  said Friday that the union had “no comment nor information to share at this time beyond the statement we released earlier today.”

That statement called Hutchins’ death an “unspeakable loss” and urged IATSE members to contact the union if they “feel unsafe on set for any reason.”

“Creating a culture of safety requires relentless vigilance from every one of us, day in and day out. Please, if you see something, say something,” the statement added.

A representative for Rust Movie Productions didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Post.

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