The crew member claims that Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot because producers failed to follow basic industry safety standards.
Lawsuit Filed Against “Rust” Producers
“Rust” gaffer Serge Svetnoy filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Wednesday alleging that the negligence of producers and other staffers on set led to the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in October.
Actor Alec Baldwin, who is also a producer of the picture, was rehearsing a scene that involved pointing a gun at the camera. Baldwin discharged the gun, killing Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza. Baldwin was reportedly told the gun was safe to use prior to filming. The set’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls have been identified as the primary crew members responsible for handling the gun.
Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed, Halls, property master Sarah Zachry, weapons provider Seth Kenney and other producers were listed as defendants in the lawsuit.
“This incident was caused by the negligent acts and omission of Defendants, and each of them, as well as their agents, principals, and employers,” the lawsuit states, per Deadline. “Simply put, there was no reason for a live bullet to be placed in that .45 Colt revolver to be present anywhere on the Rust set, and the presence of a bullet in a revolver posed a lethal threat to everyone in its vicinity.”
Svetnoy Calls Hutchins’ Death a “Tragedy and Injustice”
The complaint also alleges that the defendants failed to follow industry safety standards, hire competent crew members to handle weapons, and observe basic gun safety practices, “among other acts of negligence.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Svetnoy and Hutchins had been friends for five years. “Rust” was their ninth film working together. Svetnoy claims the bullet fired by Baldwin barely missed him. He allegedly held Hutchins in his arms while she was dying on set.
“I still cannot believe that she is no longer with us,” he told reporters. “What a tragedy and injustice when a person loses her life on film set while making art.”
Svetnoy claimed the gun, which should have been unloaded, was not supposed to go off, especially not in the direction of crew members.
“You know, this was just rehearsal. He cannot shoot on rehearsal. I‘d not expect it,” Svetnoy said. “Nobody expected that at all, that there will be an actual shot.”
The lawsuit likewise claims that “the scene did not call for Defendant Baldwin to shoot the Colt Revolver.”
On Wednesday, Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney doubled down on his previous suggestion that the tragedy was the result of “on-set sabotage.”
“Hannah is being framed,” Jason Bowles said. “We believe that the scene was tampered with as well before the police arrived.”
Svetnoy’s attorney called that allegation “far-fetched” and “unbelievable.”
Production of “Rust” took place in New Mexico. The suit is being filed in Los Angeles because it is the residence of Svetnoy and other producers. It is the first known lawsuit filed over the accident and Svetnoy is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Deadline) (NPR)
Drake Withdraws His 2022 Grammy Nominations
While Drake did not say why he was pulling his two nominations, he has a history of criticizing the Recording Academy.
Drake Withdraws Grammy Nominations
The Recording Academy confirmed to Variety on Monday that it honored musician Drake’s request to withdraw his nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Drake earned two nods for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance. The Academy does not plan on replacing the slots he now leaves vacant and each category will instead have just four nominees. According to Variety, the group likely made this choice because voting ballots had already been posted.
Neither Drake nor members from his team specified why he opted to remove himself from the lineup so late in the game, but the “Certified Lover Boy” singer has been vocal about his issues with the Recording Academy in the past. In 2017, he slammed the awards body for only giving his song “Hotline Bling” accolades in rap categories, as opposed to general categories or slots for other genres.
Drake’s Previous Issues With The Recording Academy
“I’m a Black artist, I’m apparently a rapper, even though ‘Hotline Bling’ is not a rap song,” he said during an interview with DJ Semtex. “The only category that they can manage to fit me in is in a rap category, maybe because I’ve rapped in the past or because I’m Black.”
Drake has also made a handful of statements implying that Grammy awards are not important. After Drake won a Grammy in 2019, the show cut to a commercial in what sounded like the middle of his speech after he suggested that artists don’t need these trophies to be successful. The Recording Academy said Drake was actually done speaking and the cutoff had nothing to do with the content of his speech, but many still viewed it as a slight against Drake.
“If there’s people who have regular jobs who are coming out in the rain, in the snow, spending their hard-earned money to buy tickets to come to your shows, you don’t need this right here. I promised you, you already won,” Drake said just before the cutaway.
Drake also took sides after The Weeknd was famously shut out of the 2021 Grammy nominations, supporting the “Blinding Lights” singer in his public battle against the Academy.
“I think we should stop allowing ourselves to be shocked every year by the disconnect between impactful music and these awards and just accept that what once was the highest form of recognition may no longer matter to the artists that exist now and the ones that come after,” Drake wrote on Instagram. “It’s like a relative you keep expecting to fix up but they just can’t change their ways.”
He added that a new institution or show should replace the Grammy Awards to better honor future generations of music.
Drake has not further addressed his issues with the Grammy Awards since revoking his 2022 nominations.
See what others are saying: (Variety) (Billboard) (Los Angeles Times)
YouTube Says Ludwig Was Not Banned Over Copyright Issue
A representative for YouTube said the company’s content ID system flagged a copyright violation in one of Ludwig’s streams, but the creator was not banned over the issue as he had previously claimed.
Ludwig Ahgren Claims He Was Banned
A representative from YouTube told The Verge this weekend that Ludwig Ahgren had not been banned from Twitch after the streamer made a video claiming he was.
On Nov. 29, Ahgren announced his departure from the platform Twitch for an exclusive deal with YouTube Gaming. Just three days later, he tweeted that one of his streams had been suspended for a privacy violation.
“You could say the switch has been going well,” he wrote.
In a video uploaded to his secondary channel “Mogul Mail” titled “I Got Banned…,” he said he was likely facing a suspension for playing part of the hit children’s song “Baby Shark” during one of his streams.
“It’s my third day. It’s my third day on YouTube and I got banned from streaming,” he said. “Which is funny. It’s funny… I am pretty sure the corporate overlords who own ‘Baby Shark’ have an iron fist on YouTube, and so they took me down.”
YouTube Says Ahgren’s Content Was Flagged, But He Was Not Banned
Ahgren also shared a screenshot of an email he said he received from YouTube. That message stated, “due to a copyright match, your stream was interrupted.” It added that his streams should be re-enabled once the copyrighted material is no longer being streamed.
Lauren Verrusio, the head of creator and consumer communications at YouTube, confirmed to The Verge that Ahgren ran into a copyright issue on the platform but said the popular streamer was not actually suspended.
“Ludwig wasn’t suspended,” she told the outlet, adding that he did not receive a copyright strike either. “Our Content ID tool picked up his playing of an unlicensed video while he was going live to fans.”
“If Ludwig were to have just stopped playing the copyrighted material, he could have continued the livestream just fine. But he wasn’t sure of what he was seeing on the backend and thought it was a suspension.”
A YouTube spokesperson likewise confirmed to TubeFilter that Ahgren was not banned and merely faced what the outlet described as a “temporary interruption.”
Ahgren has since been able to upload several videos to his primary channel. In his “I Got Banned…” video, Ahgren said that copyright might be a larger issue on YouTube than he initially anticipated but called the experience a lesson for the future nonetheless.
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (TubeFilter) (Kotaku)
Meghan Markle Claims Legal Victory Against U.K. Publisher
The Duchess wrote that the court’s decision is “a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.”
Meghan Markle Gets Legal Victory
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, won a major legal battle on Thursday when a U.K. Court of Appeals upheld a high court ruling that said a newspaper group violated her privacy by publishing the contents of a personal letter she sent to her father.
Markle wrote the letter to her father shortly after her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018. Mail Online and The Mail On Sunday, which are published by Associated Newspapers, printed segments of it in several articles later that year, and Markle began pursuing legal action in 2019.
This win could mark the final chapter of the dispute.
“The judge found that the contents of the Letter were private and concerned personal matters that were not matters of legitimate public interest, and in which she enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy,” the decision said. “He held that the Articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”
The ruling now stops the conflict from going to trial, which Associated Newspapers had been fighting for. In a statement, the group said it was “very disappointed” with the outcome and is considering taking the matter to the U.K. Supreme Court.
“It is our strong view that judgment should be given only on the basis of evidence tested at trial, and not on a summary basis in a heavily contested case, before even disclosure of documents,” the statement said.
Associated Newspapers argued that it was justified in publishing the letter because its contents corrected claims that were made about Thomas Markle in a story previously published in People Magazine. The court, however, wrote that the articles published were “not a necessary or proportionate means of correcting” the People Magazine piece.
Markle Stands Against “Cruel” Tabloid Culture
Markle celebrated the court’s decision in a statement, calling it “a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right.”
“While this win is precedent setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create,” she continued.
Leading up to this decision, the case had seen an array of accusations unfold against both parties. At one point, Associated Newspapers introduced evidence that Markle had previously lied to the court about her involvement in a book that painted her and Prince Harry in a positive light. The Duchess initially claimed she was not involved, but after a witness statement declared she was, she apologized to the court and said she did not remember speaking to the author at the time of her first statement.
Associated Newspapers hoped to use this to paint Markle as someone who had careful control over her public persona and therefore knew a letter she sent to her father might leak to the public. The court chalked the ordeal up to “at best, an unfortunate lapse of memory on her part,” adding the situation “does not seem to me to bear on the issues raised in the grounds of appeal.”
Markle’s legal battle against the publisher made international headlines in 2019 after Prince Harry mentioned the case, as well as other abuse his wife has faced at the hands of U.K. tabloids, in a lengthy and usually candid personal statement.
“My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he wrote. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
“There comes a point when the only thing to do is to stand up to this behaviour, because it destroys people and destroys lives. Put simply, it is bullying, which scares and silences people.”
The couple left the royal family in 2020, citing the relentless media in the U.K. as one of the primary reasons for their departure. The two now live in Montecito, Calif. with their two young children.