Alec Baldwin has a temper. For many years he’s been prone to go overboard when he gets angry, whether it’s screaming at his daughter that she’s a ‘thoughtless little pig’, tweeting rude things about a flight attendant who asked him to switch off his phone, or saying less than complimentary things about ex-wife Kim Basinger during a lengthy and bitter custody row.
Now he’s embroiled in more controversy over a twitter rant, which ultimately led to him delete his account on the social networking site. Alec took umbrage at Daily Mail reporter George Stark suggesting Baldwin’s wife had been tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral.
Using an unpleasant, homophobic tone, he tweeted of the gay journalist, ‘I want all of my followers and beyond to straighten out this little bitch, George Stark’… ‘I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna fuck…you…up.’ He then added, ‘I’d put my foot up your fucking ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much.’
Then he deleted his account.
Initially Alec and his people went into defence mode, with his publicist saying, “It is disgraceful that this reporter manufactured a story and never called for comment or explanation — especially when it needlessly diverted attention away from a day to honor the memory of a beloved figure like Mr Gandolfini.”
Baldwin himself then talked to TheGothamist with a weak, equivocating, ‘words don’t mean to me what they mean to everyone else’ response. He said, “The idea of me calling this guy a ‘queen’ and that being something that people thought is homophobic, a queen to me has a different meaning. It’s somebody who’s just above. It doesn’t have any necessarily sexual connotations. To me a queen – I know women that act queeny, I know men that are straight that act queeny, and I know gay men that act queeny. It doesn’t have to be a definite sexual connotation, or a homophobic connotation. To me those are people who think the rules don’t apply to them. This guy could blatantly lie, I mean blatantly lie about my wife on the internet and there are just no rules that apply to him, but that’s outrageous to me.”
GLAAD then reached out to Baldwin for an explanation of the Twitter rant, and the actor has now released a statement, which starts off sounding like he’s trying to make more excuses, but gets slightly better as it goes on
He says: “My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation. My anger was directed at Mr. Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend’s funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize
“I have worked, periodically, with numerous marriage equality organizations, especially over the past couple of years, to achieve the very rights that gay couples are earning by recent court decisions.
“I would not advocate violence against someone for being gay and I hope that my friends at GLAAD and the gay community and understand that my attack on Mr. Stark in no way was the result of homophobia.”
GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro responded, “Alec Baldwin is making it clear that the intent behind his tweets does not excuse his language, especially at a time when there were 11 incidents of violence against gay men in New York City just last month… As we all work to end such senseless acts of violence, allies like Baldwin are right to use these moments to reinforce support for the community and LGBT equality.”
Some are less convinced than GLAAD though, suggesting that that fact he publicly supports gay rights doesn’t excuse the homophobic tone and violence of what he said. For example, journalist Andrew Sullivan responded to the rant by saying, “This is not just hate speech; it’s a specific call for other people to physically attack a gay man. It’s a call to violence against a specific person, which, last time I checked, was a crime. He’s a pro-gay liberal, so he may get a pass for this. He shouldn’t.”
Indeed, some have suggested a double standard, as if he’d Tweeted something racist rather than homophobic, he’d have become a pariah no matter what his intent. At the moment though – and as with Baldwin’s earlier rants – it doesn’t look like it’ll affect his career too much.