Alec Baldwin | Anderson Cooper | Andrew Sullivan | New York | News | Rachel Maddow

Alec Baldwin, Still Bitter Over Gay Slur Incident, Says He's Leaving Public Life

In a lengthy essay in New York magazine, Alec Baldwin rehashes the cascade of events after he used gay slurs (with surprisingly little perspective), pulls up a number of enemies to verbally shoot down, decries the state of American media and entertainment, trashes New York, and announes that he's leaving public life.

BaldwinBaldwin puts Anderson Cooper, (whom he calls "the self-appointed Jack Valenti of gay media culture") and Andrew Sullivan in his sights, as well as Rachel Maddow:

Once they fired me, a former MSNBC employee I knew emailed me. He said, “You watch now, Phil is going to start leaking left and right to bury you.” When I left, “Page Six” was flooded with lies about me. Another told me, regarding the “toxic little queen” comment, that Rachel Maddow was the prime mover in my firing, as she was aghast that I had been hired and viewed me as equivalent to Mel Gibson. Another source told me, “You know who’s going to get you fired, don’t you? Rachel. Phil will do whatever Rachel tells him to do.” I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does. I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.

The immediate aftermath of the gay slur incident is also described this way:

I flew to Hawaii recently to shoot a film, fresh on the heels of being labeled a homophobic bigot by Andrew Sullivan, Anderson Cooper, and others in the Gay Department of Justice. I wanted to speak with a gay-rights group that I had researched and admired, so I called its local Honolulu branch.

The office number turned out to be some guy’s cell phone. I left him a message—I said, “I’m from out of town, I’m visiting Hawaii on business, I’d like to  get some information on your group.” After two or three more calls, he answered the phone. I said, “Yeah, I’m the guy that called about your organization.” And he said, somewhat impatiently, “Okay, well, what did you want?” I said, “Well, let me put it to you this way, Nick. Your name is Nick? Nick, let me begin by asking you a question. Who would you say, by your estimation, is the most homophobic member of the entertainment industry currently in the media?” And he paused for a long count of four and said,

“Um … Alec Baldwin?”

And I said, “Ding, ding, ding, ding! Bingo, Nick, bingo! That’s who you’re talking to.”
He said, “C’mon!”

I said, “Nick, I want to come in and talk.”

I met with Nick and others from two LGBT organizations. We talked for a while about the torment of the LGBT life many of them have lived while growing up in traditional Hawaiian families. Macho fathers. Religious mothers. We talked a lot about words and their power, especially in the lives of young people.

One young man, an F-to-M tranny, said, “Are you here to get dry-cleaned, like Brett Ratner?” Meaning I could do some mea culpa, write them a six-figure check, go to a dinner, sob at the table, give a heartfelt speech, beg for forgiveness. I thought to myself: Beg for forgiveness for something I didn’t do?

I said, “No. I don’t want to get dry-cleaned. I don’t want to be decontaminated by you, Karen Silkwood–wise, scrubbed down. I want to learn about what is hurtful speech in your community. I want to participate in some programs about that. Or underwrite one. And then, like you, I just want to be left alone.”

BaldwinNow Baldwin is very bitter:

Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent.

I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media—but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.

When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one. Perhaps I fell for that.

Baldwin says he's leaving public life. Will you miss him?

Read the full essay here.

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Comments

  1. Alec Baldwin is an excellent actor and an ally of the Queer community. he's correct to dislike being scapegoated by a cadre of sanctimonious opportunists.

    on the plus side, maybe his big freakout will encourage some other celebrity to really hurt or kill some paparazzi, which is starting to seem like the only way that breed of vultures will ever police themselves.

    no, i really don't care that he used slurs. the fixation on slurs has been a triumph of form over substance in civil rights activism and progressivism...oh wait, i deeply apologize for saying that! i will now go to (lol) "slur rehab!"

    our rights will not be advanced by this pc brownshirting.

    Posted by: Jeton Ademaj | Feb 24, 2014 7:46:58 AM


  2. Won't miss him. Self-pitying D-bag. Part of being famous is knowing that your life is on public view--that's the price you pay for the big paychecks, the preferential treatment in restaurants, and all the other perks.

    I don't believe for a moment that he'll forsake public life forever--if there came along an opportunity to get back i, he'd be there. What else is he going to do--volunteer for a women's shelter, for heavens' sakes?

    Posted by: kdknyc | Feb 24, 2014 7:47:27 AM


  3. Alec Baldwin isn't a homophobe. Wanna know what a homophobe looks like? Rick Santorum, Antonin Scalia, Michele Bachmann, the Arizona state legislature, the majority of countires in Africa and the Middle East. Anyone who is for gay marriage, whether they use offensive terminology like "tranny" or not, cannot be considered homophobic, or at least nearly to the level of others listed above. Let's focus on the real homophobes.

    Posted by: Garrett | Feb 24, 2014 7:54:09 AM


  4. He announce in a multi paged article in New York Magazine that he his leaving public life? Can he just leave public life without the big announcement?

    Posted by: Armando | Feb 24, 2014 8:02:25 AM


  5. "I wonder if there's a way I can completely ruin all the goodwill I gained from my time on 30 Rock," Alec wondered. "When that was a godsend at a time my career was in the toilet. Hey, I know what I can do!" And off he went.

    Posted by: Tigernan | Feb 24, 2014 8:09:14 AM


  6. Four words: Rich heterosexual white male. Cry me a f__king river Arec Bardwin.

    Posted by: tristram | Feb 24, 2014 8:10:53 AM


  7. Won't miss the dirtbag.

    Posted by: deco | Feb 24, 2014 8:19:14 AM


  8. He loves attention too much to leave public life.

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 24, 2014 8:19:59 AM


  9. The irony of writing up a big media piece on how he hates the media and getting his picture on the cover to announce he's leaving public life seem lost on him. Celebrities crave "good press". Kathy Griffin can tell you all about it.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 24, 2014 8:25:22 AM


  10. leaving public life in a public way

    Posted by: Moz's | Feb 24, 2014 8:26:07 AM


  11. I agree that people these days get their panties in a bunch over a couple of words thrown out, but it was how he acted after the fact that made me sick. Clearly we have bigger, much more damaging fish to fry than him. This is the ultimate first world problem, though. Follow Shia's lead and wear a bag over your head. Poor little rich boy. Cry me a river.

    Posted by: AJ | Feb 24, 2014 8:38:11 AM


  12. He's very troubled and I have mixed emotions about him. One thing I believe is that he will never "leave" public life. As Jack said, above, he craves attention too much.

    Posted by: JD | Feb 24, 2014 8:45:41 AM


  13. grow some skin, alec.
    i can't believe this is the worst thing that's ever happened to you. if it is, you're very lucky.
    we loved you on 30 rock.
    your msnbc show just s*ucked--granted you didn't have much time to get it right. but the insider entertainment conversations with your friends were boring. for viewers, it was like listening to conversations at the convention of a business you're not in.
    yes, msnbc is ridiculous. they did much worse to martin bashir and keith olbermann and cenk uygur than they did to you. you're not exactly alone there.
    grow up, man.
    you're acting like a toxic little queen.

    Posted by: woody | Feb 24, 2014 8:51:27 AM


  14. All he needed to have said at the time was, "The paparazzo's behaviour enraged me and I responded with the most hurtful words I could think of. I apologize to those who were offended by my use of those words. They are not reflective of my real feelings towards anybody."

    His arrogance made such a classy apology impossible. Instead, he lied and ruined himself. now he's blaming everybody else.

    Posted by: Martin | Feb 24, 2014 8:54:20 AM


  15. Maybe he can borrow Shia Lebeouf's paper bag?

    Posted by: crispy | Feb 24, 2014 8:54:37 AM


  16. I don't think Baldwin is a homophobe, but his reaction to this incident, and his reactions in general in the public, prove he is a narcissistic, self-involved a-hole who has the emotional maturity of a 5-year-old. No matter he ended up with that model of stability, Kim Bassinger.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Feb 24, 2014 8:55:37 AM


  17. This narcissistic ***hole will NEVER leave public life, he's addicted to the heroin like high of adulation he gets from his adoring fans.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Feb 24, 2014 9:01:50 AM


  18. I remember watching Baldwin play with such delight the creepy homosexual scoutmaster looking to molest young scouts on Saturday Night Live. By Saturday Night Live standards it was supposed to be a hilarious skit. With "friends" like these, who needs enemies?

    Posted by: Kieran | Feb 24, 2014 9:08:44 AM


  19. He is hot tempered. And he's probably become a drama queen since he's been so close to the gay community it may have rubbed off. (little joke there).

    But I can easily over look the use of a slur spoken in anger in the heat of the moment. Especially since I wasn't there to hear it.

    I can't believe Alec Baldwin would intentionally hurt the gay community. I also find it hard to believe Rachel Maddow would go after him. I'd like to hear what she has to say about this article.

    Just look at that magazine cover. Drama anyone? "No, no don't look deeply into my big blue eyes. I'm too hurt. Go away. Leave me. Wait a minute, not so fast."

    Posted by: james st. james | Feb 24, 2014 9:11:56 AM


  20. Well, Alec, the next logical step will be to follow your younger brother into evangelical christianity. At least then you rantings won't seem so disappointing.

    For the record, Alec, Rachel Maddow did not push to have you fired and, frankly, could have cared less about you being at MSNBC. Ms. Maddow has bigger fish to fry.

    You were, at the time of your hiring at MSNBC, a border-line, has-been actor (30 Rock notwithstanding), and of interest only because of your volatile, attention-getting personality.

    The truth is, Alec, is that you've got issues. WE know what those issues are and YOU know what those issues are but NONE of us want to go there. That's all up to YOU to deal with resolving them all.

    So, Alec, as the saying goes, don't let the door slam you in your ass on the way out. Truth is, in about six months, if even that, you will barely make even the most obscure trivia lists.

    Enjoy your retirement. I hope you've invested your money well.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Feb 24, 2014 9:14:22 AM


  21. Another Straight Ally kicked to the curb by polished hypocrites...good job, losers...

    Posted by: styler | Feb 24, 2014 9:18:49 AM


  22. Love to see a cage match between Rachel Maddow and Alec Baldwin.

    Both have hugely inflated egos and are NEVER wrong.

    At least Baldwin doesn't pretend to be self-righteous and holy like Madame Maddow.

    Posted by: Jonnycakes | Feb 24, 2014 9:21:54 AM


  23. It's odd he couldn't reach out to any of the people reporting the news of the day to give his opinion on what happened. He had to call a random number someone found. With his fame, this just doesn't add up.

    We've been thrown under the bus twice now, once when he was angry with the photog and once again when he got angry things didn't work out the way he planned. So the gay community is the real problem here huh.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Feb 24, 2014 9:22:59 AM


  24. What made this a bigger issue than it needed to be was his persistent denial of the use of the offensive slurs. Instead he's crying like a child who didn't get the candy bar he wants. Ego much?

    Posted by: Roselovr | Feb 24, 2014 9:28:00 AM


  25. Another example of a rich, entitled a-hole who thinks he's proving his down-with-people street cred by calling out other rich, entitled a-holes and in the process confirming to the world that he really is one loathsome, arrogant rich, entitled a-hole. See cruise, tom: psychiatry; hannity, sean: de blasio

    I was tickled by the phrase "Gay Department of Justice" and had visions of Ace and Gary running through my head. I wondered who would be the Attorney General overseeing such an organization? Then it hit me: Eric Holder, of course.

    Posted by: Tommy | Feb 24, 2014 9:29:27 AM


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