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Bill Maher Blames Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Shooting on COVID Protocols

Newsweek 3/22/2023 Jamie Burton

Bill Maher has suggested Alec Baldwin's prop gun shooting incident on the set of Rust wouldn't have happened without COVID-19 safety protocols on movie sets.

In October 2021, the movie's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was shot and killed after a prop revolver held by Baldwin discharged. In January 2023, Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed were charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Maher recently discussed the topic on his podcast, Club Random, with his guest, TMZ founder Harvey Levin.

Both men agreed it was "outrageous" for Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case, and Maher went on to share his take on what he believes was the real cause of the shooting.

"What I think happened was, they were so concerned about f****** COVID masks. That's my theory. I'm just pulling this out of my a**, but it could be true," Maher told Levin.

Maher continued, "It's so typical of how America reacts to everything—wrong. Always scared of the wrong things. And t, which

"Oh my God," Levin replied after hearing Maher's theory.

The shooting, in which director Joel Souza was wounded, occurred on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. At the time, many movies and TV sets were returning to some normality since the start of the pandemic, with most of them having COVID-19 protocols in place.

In the ensuing investigations of the circumstances before the shooting of Hutchins, it was found that crew members had complaints about the conditions on the set. These included missing firearms safety protocols, missing medics from the set during construction and long hours. However, one thing that apparently was not a problem for the crew was the COVID-19 safety protocols, as Maher suggested. In fact, there was concern about adequate protection against the disease.

Bill Maher spoke about the "Rust" shooting with a guest on his podcast, TMZ founder Harvey Levin. Club Random podcast © Club Random Podcast Bill Maher spoke about the "Rust" shooting with a guest on his podcast, TMZ founder Harvey Levin. Club Random podcast

As reported by Deadline, days before the shooting, a number of the film's crew members quit. A member of the camera crew listed the reasons for quitting in a private Facebook group.

"We cited everything from lack of payment for three weeks, taking our hotels away despite asking for them in our deals, lack of COVID safety, and on top of that, poor gun safety! Poor on-set safety period!" the person wrote.

Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge and last month waived his first court appearance.

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