Alec Baldwin is going to spend some time on Hollywood’s “black list” after he is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection to fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his film “Rust” in 2021, Hollywood PR experts told Insider.
But, the PR experts said, Baldwin’s career will likely recover with time.
Eric Schiffer, the chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Insider that Thursday is a “bad day for Baldwin’s brand” as Santa Fe County District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and special prosecutor Andrea Reeb announced their highly anticipated decision to bring charges against Baldwin and other “Rust” crew members.
“He is going to face justice for what should never have happened, and this is an incident that will cause him to be in this short term a future pariah in Hollywood,” Schiffer said.
Schiffer told Insider that in the short term, Baldwin will “become a dirty bomb in Hollywood,” and people may refuse to work with him or cast him in future projects.
“He will enter a rarely disclosed black list for the time being until this gets resolved,” Schiffer said of Baldwin.
Ultimately, given Baldwin’s Hollywood status, his career can be revived, experts said
Hollywood PR experts can’t deny that Baldwin is in hot water right now, but given his stature in Hollywood, they believe time will heal this wound.
“First justice has to be determined,” Schiffer said. “I don’t think it’s the end of Baldwin, but it will be a terrifying period for him that he brought upon himself for deciding to do what no rational person would normally do.”
Evan Nierman, the CEO of Global Crisis PR Firm Red Banyan and author of “Crisis Averted,” echoed Schiffer’s thoughts and said that the “charges alone do not signal an immediate end to his career.”
“Dealing with this involuntary manslaughter charge will require immense amounts of time, focus, and legal expenses for the foreseeable future,” Nierman said. “Given his premier stature in Hollywood, Baldwin should be able to continue working in the short-term and very well could have plenty of opportunities down the road.”
Schiffer and Nierman agreed that the ultimate decider on Baldwin’s reputation and career depends on how the charges play out in court.
Experts believe that the public will not side with Baldwin
Schiffer told Insider that Baldwin has “hurt himself in unimaginable ways, especially with the public, who has, for some time, wondered how he ever allowed this to happen and who wondered why any adult would think it would be okay to aim a gun at anyone.”
He said that moving forward, Baldwin should “keep his mouth shut” and said Baldwin’s interviews since the shooting have not done him “any favors” because “he spent too much time positioning himself as the victim and deflecting responsibility for the tragedy.”
“The focus instantly became his dramatic claim that the gun in his hand went off without him pulling the trigger,” Nierman added.
Baldwin fatally shot 42-year-old Hutchins while rehearsing a scene in which he pointed a Colt .45 revolver at a camera on a Santa Fe movie set for “Rust” on October 21, 2021. The shooting also injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.
After the shooting, Baldwin called it a “tragic accident” and said he never pulled the trigger of the gun.
An FBI report released last year concluded that the gun used in the shooting could not have been fired without pulling the trigger.
Schiffer called Baldwin’s claim that he never pulled the trigger a “big lie,” adding that it “was not only horrifyingly dumb but defies gun physics.”
“His biggest problem is he continues to … [tell] the public … that guns are going to magically fire themselves,” Schiffer added.
Baldwin’s attorney, Luke Nikas, called the decision to bring charges against the actor a “terrible miscarriage of justice” and said that Baldwin had “no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun – or anywhere on the movie set.”
“He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds,” he said. “We will fight these charges, and we will win.”