‘Rust’ camera chief says set safety was ‘massive issue’

‘She was my friend’: Alec Baldwin speaks out about Halyna Hutchins 04:59 (CNN)The head of the "Rust" camera department who submitted a letter of resignation one day before the fatal shooting on the Santa Fe, New Mexico, movie set last month is going public with claims of an unsafe working environment, calling safety on the project a "massive issue."

In a brief comment to CNN Tuesday night, Lane Luper, the A-camera first assistant, said crew was "rushed and unsafe" on the set of the western.

He expanded in an interview with ABC Wednesday , citing lax "gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, [and] a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day."

Emails obtained by CNN show that Luper’s resignation arrived with a host of complaints about an unsafe work environment.

"During the filming of gunfights on this job things are often played very fast and loose," Luper wrote.

He wrote of two accidental weapons discharges on set and one special effects mess-up that set off explosives around the crew between takes.

"I personally suffer from pretty bad tinnitus and the SFX explosive sent my ears ringing until I got home. To be clear there are NO safety meetings these days," Luper wrote, using an abbreviation for special effects.

Luper also complained of a lack of adequate lodging for crew nearby the set, delayed paychecks, and "the most lax covid policies I’ve personally ever seen in any business or private setting related to filmmaking."

"In my 10 years as a camera assistant I’ve never worked on a show that cares so little for the safety of its crew," he wrote.

In a statement to CNN, "Rust" producers called Luper’s allegations regarding the film’s budget and safety "patently false," adding it "is not surprising considering his job was to be a camera operator, and he had absolutely nothing to [do] with, or knowledge of, safety protocols or budgets."

"Safety is always the number one priority on our films, and it is truly awful to see some using this tragedy for personal gain," the producers added.

In previous statements, "Rust" producers maintained they were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety and are conducting an internal review.

Questions of workplace safety are mounting as investigators are seeking to determine how a live round made its way into the gun that was fired by actor and producer Alec Baldwin, killing the movie’s cinematographer and injuring its director.On Tuesday, Baldwin took to his social media to share an account of a ‘Rust’ crew member that presented a sharply different account of the on-set environment, suggesting that criticism of unsafe conditions and unhappiness on the set was overblown.The comments appear to have been made on a social media account of "Rust" costume designer Terese Magpale Davis.In the post she claims that the narrative of the film being beset by unsafe and chaotic conditions is "bulls..t" and that "concerns were heard and addressed" by the producers on the film."They cared about us while we all worked together, and […]

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