UPDATED: In the wake of the fatal gun accident on the set of “Rust,” a Change.org petition addressed to Alec Baldwin that calls for a ban on using real firearms on set and demands better working conditions for crew has passed its goal and amassed more than 63,000 signatures..
The originators of the petition are now calling on Hollywood studios to take the lead in banning real guns on sets in addition to their earlier plea for Baldwin to use his influence to change policies.
“Dear Hollywood Studios: Your decision to remain silent on this matter speaks volumes about where you stand on this issue to ban the use of real firearms on set and provide workers with better crew conditions,” the petition update reads. “People around the world now know, Hollywood feels that a woman’s death on a film production set doesn’t need to be addressed. You could care less about below the line workers and only care about box office numbers and returns.”
A prop gun handled by Alec Baldwin discharged on Thursday while filming a scene for the movie “Rust” in New Mexico, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.
“Please sign this petition and demand for Alec Baldwin to use his power and influence in the Hollywood film industry to make change and ban real guns on film sets,” the petition states. “While we’re at this topic, this would be a good time to begin discussing the horrendous working conditions of those who work in the film industry (both Hollywood and Independent Features).”
The petition was started by award-winning filmmaker Bandar Albuliwi (“Peace After Marriage”) on Friday. Actors including Lena Dunham, Sarah Paulson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Paquin, Holland Taylor and Ariana DeBose have signed and shared the petition on social media.
“We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again,” Albuliwi states in the petition. “There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century. Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. This isn’t the early 90’s, when Brandon Lee was killed in the same manner. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”
A graduate of the American Film Institute Conservatory in Los Angeles, Albuliwi received his MFA in film directing. Hutchins graduated from the AFI Conservatory in 2015 with a MFA in cinematography. Albuliwi says in the petition: “Like everyone in the AFI, we all knew one another. AFI is a very small community of filmmakers, trying their hardest to get their big break in the film industry after graduating from the program.”
Petition signatory Lindsey Wooten said: “With the technology we have today, there is no need for a real weapon to ever be used in media. We have artists to make the outside look real and CGI to make the rest look realistic. No entertainment is worth people being injured or losing their lives.”
“This SHOULD NOT [sic] have happened,” added signatory Polly Fournier. “Guns kill — when will people realise [sic] that? A little boy has lost his mum. So tragic and unnecessary.”
“I’m signing because people, no matter who they are, surprisingly do not know how to respect weapons.” wrote William Lewis.
The producers of “Rust” have suspended production while sheriffs investigate the circumstances of Hutchins’ death. “As we go through this crisis, we have made the decision to wrap the set at least until the investigations are complete,” said a statement released on Sunday.