Back in October, while filming the low-budget Western film Rust, Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks.
A live round inside the weapon struck and killed cinematographer Hylena Hutchins.
In the weeks since Hutchins’ death, that conditions that led up to the accident have been the subject of countless journalistic investigations, but these have brought us no closer to a full understanding of how this tragedy occurred.
Baldwin issued a statement about the accident shortly after the shooting occurred, but it wasn’t until this week that he offered his side of the story in-depth.
In a new interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Baldwin calls the accident the “worst thing that ever happened” to him.
“She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with [her], and liked by everyone who worked with [her], and admired,” Baldwin says.
“I mean, even now… I find it hard to believe that [it happened]. It just doesn’t seem real to me.”
The full interview is scheduled to air at 8 pm on Thursday, but a preview released online has already shocked and infuriated critics who blame Baldwin for the accident.
“The trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger. I would never point a gun at someone and pull the trigger on them, never,” Baldwin tells a stunned Stephanopoulos.
“It wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled.”
“So you never pulled the trigger?” the interviewer asks.
“No, no, no, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never.”
“How did a real bullet get on that set?” Stephanopoulos inquires.
“I have no idea. Someone put a live bullet in a gun. A bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property.”
In response to Baldwin’s clams that the gun went off on its own, many have taken to Twitter to express doubt at his version of events.
“It was a Single Action Revolver you must pull back on the Hammer to engage the Action and the Trigger to fire the Weapon,” one user wrote, according to The Blast.
“If you don’t pull back on the Hammer you can squeeze the trigger all day long and the Weapon will not fire.”
“Did you ask Alec Baldwin about the two LIVE ROUNDS (not blanks) that were fired accidentally five days before the incident???” another asked.
“Why did he and others not check if they knew that???”
“No one should feel sorry for Alec even though it was an accident,” another person chimed in.
“The only ones who really are suffering are the victim and her immediate family.”
“This interview is clearly inappropriate,” a fourth critic argued.
“Has the police investigation even finished? It looks like a self-serving interview to me. If I was his lawyer I would not have advised him to agree to it. It could make matters ten times worse for him,” this user continued.
“Condolences to the deceased’s family. Such a wonderful person gone too soon.”
Blame has been placed on several parties in the wake of the incident, with many faulting Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, who was in charge of weapons for the film.
It’s unclear if any criminal charges will be filed in connection with Hutchins’ death, but it seems almost certain that Baldwin will eventually face a civil suit from the cinematographer’s family.
The actor’s interview with George Stephanopolous will air on ABC Thursday night at 8 pm.