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Attorneys for “Rust” Armorer Say Live Round May Have Been Part of an Effort To “Sabotage” Production



Attorney Jason Bowles speculated that an unhappy crew member may have placed a live round in a box of dummy rounds “to prove a point.”

Armorer’s Lawyers Discuss Shooting

Lawyers representing Hannah Guttierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of “Rust,” suggested during a “Today Show” interview Wednesday that someone may have placed live rounds on set in an effort to sabotage the production. 

Attorneys Jason Bowles and Robert Gorence joined anchor Savannah Guthrie for a video interview to discuss the accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza in October. Actor Alec Baldwin was rehearsing a scene that involved pointing a gun at the camera when it misfired. He was told the gun was safe to use prior to the incident. 

Guttierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls have been identified as the staffers responsible for handling the gun. Guthrie asked Guttierrez-Reed’s lawyers how a live round ended up in the weapon in the first place.

“That’s the most pivotal question in this case,” Bowles responded. “I think that is the question we want the FBI and want the sheriff and the District Attorney to all address.”

According to Bowles, Guttierrez-Reed loaded the gun from “a box of dummy rounds labeled ‘dummy.’”

“Hannah did take from that box that she should, by all accounts, have been able to rely on,” Bowles explained. 

“Now, we don’t know, however, whether that live round came from that box,” he continued. “We are assuming it did. We are assuming someone put the live round in that box, which if you think about that, the person who put the live round in the box of dummy rounds, had to have the purpose of sabotaging the set.”

Attorney Says Crew Members Can’t Be Ruled Out as Suspects

Bowles added that a number of crew members on set were unhappy with the production. There have been multiple reports alleging unsafe work conditions prior to the shooting. Some crew walked out in protest. 

“I believe that somebody who would do that would want to sabotage the set, want to prove a point, want to say they’re disgruntled, they’re unhappy,” Bowles claimed. “And we know that people had already walked off the set the day before.”

Bowles said this was not necessarily his “theory,” but it is a possibility he has considered while “trying to get all the facts.”

“I just want to be crystal clear,” Guthrie asked the attorneys at one point. “Are you saying that potentially those that were unhappy, the disgruntled crew members that had walked off set, that they are potential suspects, in your mind, of potentially placing a live round, to prove a point, in your words?”

“Well I think Savannah, you can’t rule anyone out at this point,” Bowles said. 

Both attorneys said they are cooperating with authorities in the ongoing investigation.

Baldwin Shares Messaged Denying Safety Allegations

Their interview came a day after Baldwin shared a statement written by Terese Magpale Davis, a costume designer on set who denied that producers on “Rust” did not take safety seriously. Baldwin added no further commentary other than an Instagram caption that said, “Read this.”

“I’m so sick of this narrative,” Davis wrote. “I worked on this movie. The story being spun of us being overworked and surrounded by unsafe, chaotic conditions is bullshit.”

Davis claimed that the crew never worked a day over 12.5 hours. She also said production was approachable and addressed concerns as they were brought up.

Regarding Guttierrez-Reed, Davis said that while she was not “the most experienced person,” she had “qualifications typical for” production of this level. 

Davis also wrote that safety meetings were held frequently, with multiple sometimes taking place in a single day. 

“Our AD never seemed flippant about safety,” she continued. She added that she is angry over the mistake that was made, but will not “jump on the bandwagon and pretend he was uncaring about our safety the whole way through.”

Davis concluded that the issue was not one production safety, but gun safety. She said she plans to fight for more gun safety rules on set in Hutchins’ name.

Read more: (NBC News) (The Hollywood Reporter) (Los Angeles Times)


“Don’t Worry Darling” Tops the Box Office Amid Bad Press



Audiences are already giving the film higher praise than critics did.

Young Women Flock to “Don’t Worry Darling” 

Weeks of controversies and rumors did not prevent “Don’t Worry Darling” from finding victory at the box office, with the Olivia Wilde-directed thriller debuting at number one over the weekend and raking in $19.2 million. 

Wilde also acted in the mid-century mystery, which starrs Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, and Gemma Chan.

Women led ticket sales for the picture, comprising 66% of the audience, according to several reports. At least partially due to the appeal of Styles, crowds also skewed young, with over half under the age of 25.

Overseas, the film made over $10 million, bringing its total for the weekend to $30 million. That number is especially impressive since the R-rated drama had a budget of $35 million.

“Don’t Worry Darling” had been plagued with weeks of rumors about behind-the-scenes drama leading up to its release. Among other bouts of gossip, many online speculated that Pugh and Wilde had riffs on set, leading to Pugh’s refusal to promote the project. One report alleged the two got into a screaming match, but sources on set denied it. 

Wilde and Shia LeBeouf, who was originally cast in the picture, also got into a public he-said-she-said about whether he quit the film or was fired. 

The drama hit a boiling point during its premiere at the Venice Film Festival when Twitter users circulated a video they claimed showed Styles spiting on Pine, though both parties have denied that allegation. 

A Film Riddled With Rumors 

Furthering the bad press were the bad reviews. Critics largely panned the film, sticking it with a 38% on Rotten Tomatoes. After this first weekend, moviegoers seem to have a more favorable outlook, as it has a 79% audience score as of Monday. 

Jeff Goldstein, the distribution chief for Warner Bros., told the Associated Press that “the background noise” caused by these controversies “had a neutral impact” on its box office haul. The studio released a statement saying it was pleased with the movie’s earnings. 

Some analysts believe that, if anything, the online gossip and fodder may have aided the film’s box office performance.

In a tweet recapping the weekend’s box office, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at Comscore, said the “drama sparked a huge wave of interest.”

See what others are saying: (Associated Press) (Box Office Mojo) (New York Times)

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Senators Introduce Legislation Requiring Radios to Pay Royalties to Artists



Sen. Padilla argued the bill is necessary to give artists the “dignity and respect they deserve.”

The American Music Fairness Act

Sens. Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the American Music Fairness Act to the Senate on Thursday, a bill that would require radio stations to pay royalties to performers and rights holders. 

The bill was previously introduced to the House last year. According to a release, the United States is the only democratic country where artists are not compensated for their music’s use on AM or FM radio. While songwriters and publishers receive payment, these stations have never been required to give a slice of the pie to performers and copyright holders. 

On streaming and satellite radio, however, both groups receive royalty payments. 

In a statement, Padilla said it is time the country starts treating “our musical artists with the dignity and respect they deserve for the music they produce and we enjoy every day.”

“California’s artists have played a pivotal role in enriching and diversifying our country’s music scene,” he added. “That is why passing the American Music Fairness Act is so important.”

“From Beale Street to Music Row to the hills of East Tennessee, the Volunteer State’s songwriters have undeniably made their mark,” Blackburn echoed. “Tennessee’s creators deserve to be compensated for their work. This legislation will ensure that they receive fair payment and can keep the great hits coming.”

The American Music Fairness Act would require terrestrial radio broadcasters to pay royalties to music creators when their songs are played. It would also protect smaller stations that either make less than $1.5 million in annual revenue or who have a parent company that makes less than $10 million in annual revenue by letting them play unlimited music for under $500 a year. 

The bill would also require other countries to pay American artists for the use of their work.

Support From Major Music Groups

The legislation is endorsed by a number of groups, including the Recording Academy, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Federation of Musicians. 

If passed, the bill could move a lot of money into the pockets of performers. According to the Recording Academy, when American music gets international airplay, other countries collect royalties for American artists, amounting to around $200 million every year. However, they “never pay those royalties because the U.S. does not reciprocate with our own performance right.”

Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, argues that the money belongs to the artists. 

“Broadcast companies profit from advertising sales because of the creative content musicians and singers record. It stands to reason that the performers who create the content deserve to be compensated just as songwriters are now,” Drescher said in a statement. “The reason it’s called the American Music Fairness Act is because the current situation is wholly unfair and it’s up to Congress to make it fair NOW!”

Last year, Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Local Radio Freedom Act, a bill with essentially the opposite agenda. It aims to reserve radio’s royalty-free status. The American Music Fairness Act is being viewed as a counter-response to this bill.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Billboard)

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Kanye West Says Catalog Is Potentially Being Sold Without His Permission: “Just Like Taylor Swift”



After Swift lost the rights to her life’s work, she took on the endeavor of re-recording her first six albums. 

Kanye’s Catalog Potentially Up For Grabs

Following reports that Kanye West was considering selling his catalog, the artist took to Instagram on Tuesday to claim his work is potentially being sold without his approval.

On Monday, Billboard reported that West had been “quietly and intermittently shopping his publishing catalog.”

While the outlet’s sources did not reveal what price West was aiming for, Billboard estimated that West might be looking at a $175 million valuation for his discography. Some of Billboard’s sources seemingly suggested that West and his team were specifically behind the effort to sell his work, but others claimed the “catalog was never actively shopped” and instead, West had been receiving offers from potential buyers. 

Not long after, several news outlets picked the story up and reported that West was gearing up to sell his catalog. West responded by writing on his Instagram story that this was not the case. 

“Not For Sale”

“Just like Taylor Swift,” he said, referencing music mogul Scooter Braun purchasing Swift’s masters with Big Machine Records without her approval. “My publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge. Not for sale.”

Swift referred to the sale of her masters to Braun as her “worst case scenario.” In order to regain ownership of her work, she is in the process of re-recording her first six albums, all of which she originally made under Big Machine. Two have already been released and proved to be wildly commercially successful. 

According to Forbes, it is unclear which of his albums West owns the masters to, if he owns any at all. Because of this, it is unknown what kind of position he would be put in if his catalog, which is currently managed by Sony, was sold.

The status of any potential for his work to be sold became foggier later on Tuesday when West shared screenshots of a text exchange he had. He asked an unidentified person what was happening with the catalog sale, and that person responded by calling it “fake news.”

“Of course every publisher wants to pitch [their] hardest buy, smh,” the text continued. 

West did not further indicate if those texts were meant to clarify that his catalog was, in fact, not up for sale, or just further distance himself from any potential acquisition.

See what others are saying: (Billboard) (Forbes) (Complex)

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