Television

‘Rust’ Producer Defends Her Denial of Training Time with Alec Baldwin


The Rust line producer vilified in a state safety probe for having rejected a firearms training request just days before Alec Baldwin accidentally killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on Oct. 21, 2021 defended her decision on the witness stand Wednesday.

Testifying at Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s involuntary manslaughter trial in New Mexico, Gabrielle Pickle told jurors she denied the request from Gutierrez-Reed on Oct. 17, 2021 because it was centered on Baldwin’s co-star Brady Noon, who was 15 years old at the time, not something requested for Baldwin’s benefit. She said Noon simply wanted to “learn” more about guns.

“There was an incident where (Gutierrez-Reed) requested training that would involve Brady, who was a minor, who did not fire weapons in the movie, and I denied that for insurance purposes. But that was the only one that we denied,” Pickle testified on the fifth day of Gutierrez-Reed’s trial.

“Did Ms. Gutierrez tell you that she needed additional training time with Alec Baldwin?” special prosecutor Kari Morrissey asked in a follow-up.

“Not phrased like that,” Pickle responded. “Alec was in the question around Brady. Alec was going to be present, because their characters in the script were so often together. But it was specifically for Brady to learn. Yeah, to learn. The request was not because Alec needed more time.” Pickle said that if she had allowed the non-essential training, she “would have had to inform insurance, and then we would have to pay a little bit more money, just because the minor element.”

Pickle came under scrutiny in the aftermath of the deadly shooting when New Mexico’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau (OHSB) published a report in April 2022 stating that Rust Movie Productions was being fined a record civil penalty of $136,793 for its “plain indifference to recognized hazards associated with use of firearms on set.” The report found that Gutierrez-Reed was scolded by Pickle a week before Hutchins’ death because she was prioritizing guns over other props. “It has been brought to my attention that you are focusing far more on Armor and not supporting props as needed,” Pickle wrote in a chastising email excerpted in the OHSB’s report. Gutierrez-Reed responded that she needed time to focus on guns for “everyone’s safety.” Three days later, Pickle told Gutierrez-Reed there would be “no more” training days, “Like training Alec and such.”

When it was his turn to cross-examine Pickle on Wednesday, Gutierrez-Reed’s defense lawyer Jason Bowles pressed the line producer again. “Why did you tell her there would be no more training days?” he asked.

“At that point, we didn’t need them,” Pickle responded. “She and I had communicated since the very beginning that we wanted to keep track of all of her armorer days. And so, we texted back and forth fairly often, every few days.” Bowles then asked for more “context” about his client’s request for more training days.

“The specific instance that I remember was her asking for a training day with Alec and our minor lead, Brady. And that was the one that I said no to, due to it being a minor,” Pickle reiterated.

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Gutierrez-Reed was a 24-year-old rookie armorer at the time of the tragedy. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.

Baldwin is set to face a trial in July after he pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter last month in a revived case that followed the dismissal of the same charge against him last April. The actor, 65, maintains he did not pull the trigger before the gun he believed was loaded with inert, so-called “dummy” ammunition fired and killed Hutchins inside a small wooden church in a mock western town just outside Santa Fe.



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