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.


  1. Jeton Ademaj says

    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.

  2. kdknyc says

    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?

  3. Garrett says

    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.

  4. Armando says

    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?

  5. Tigernan says

    “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.

  6. anon says

    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.

  7. AJ says

    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.

  8. JD says

    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.

  9. woody says

    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.

  10. Martin says

    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.

  11. CPT_Doom says

    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.

  12. I wont grow up says

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

  13. Kieran says

    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?

  14. james st. james says

    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.”

  15. jamal49 says

    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.

  16. Jonnycakes says

    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.

  17. Hey Darlin' says

    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.

  18. says

    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?

  19. Tommy says

    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.

  20. e.c. says

    Yes, your long sit-down to learn about the power of language used against the LGBT community obviously had a great impact on you considering you proceed to describe one of participants as a “tyranny”. (Face-palm)

    Unfortunately, as much as I like him as an actor I think that he’s just an a-hole. The slurs were just used to further his general dickishness.

  21. edude says

    What an angry and “toxic” person Alec Baldwin comes across as.

    Crispy, Shia Labeouf “who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise,” would not lend this man his paper bag. Nor, I suspect, would he borrow a word from him. Which just about says it all……………..

  22. bobbyjoe says

    Yeah, I used to really like Alec Baldwin, but his “New York” piece is full of self-serving BS.

    Immediately taking the word of one staffer that Rachel Maddow is some all powerful villain who’s out to get him sounds like paranoid nonsense and if we buy it we demonstrate how well we’ve been trained not to take anti-gay rhetoric as seriously as slurs against other minorities.

    As an example, switch minorities here for a moment: suppose Baldwin had made anti-Semitic or racist slurs and wrote a piece for a magazine claiming he’d heard from one staffer that it was the most prominent Jewish or African-American host on that network who was “out to get him.” How would that be received? I doubt people would just assume “oh he’s right” and not start thinking “geez, the dude’s paranoia really IS starting to sound Mel Gibson-esque.”

    And then he throws in the word “tranny,” which is either mind-numbingly stupid thing to do in his current situation or else he’s doing it deliberately to provoke– either of which make Baldwin look like a seriously sh*tty person.

    So, yeah, I’ve loved a lot of Baldwin’s work in the past, but, please, Alec, leave faster. And all the stuff about the door, ass, etc.

  23. Qj201 says

    I dunno, I think my friends who are black or any other race but white would come for my ass in a second if I dropped the n-bomb or other racist spew when in an angry confrontation with a person of color.

    He don’t get a pass. period.

  24. gr8guya says

    For some people, fame is an addiction. To them, the only thing worse than being followed by the paparazzi is not being followed by the paparazzi. There are many actors who lead quiet personal lives – Meryl Streep, Glenn Close – and others who seek the limelight at all times.

    Alec Baldwin is clearly someone who craves attention. There is nothing more convincing than saying he is leaving public life by taking to the pages of New York magazine.

  25. Perry says

    So he declared he is leaving public life by writing an essay for New York magazine and then trashes gay media figures? Ha! I love how people will defend him because he is a so called good liberal. As pathetic as this jackass is, those defending him are even worse and are beyond hypocrites.

  26. Kev C says

    I don’t see why he doesn’t apologize. It’s not that hard and it saves a lot of trouble and hurt feelings. Only psychopaths and narcisists never apologize.

  27. Eugene says

    He probably isn’t a homophobe, but his behavior surely was homophobic. Maybe he just doesn’t comprehend it?

  28. Dave says

    Alec seems a pompous man with anger issues, and despite having been a good LGBT ally, he clearly carries some bit of homophobia. But lets be honest, a lot of people do, even our own LGBT family can turn on their own. I am not mad at the guy for a slip-up: 1) most people do slip up (stones and glass houses thing); 2) homophobia is engrained in our culture, and it will take a long time to eliminate to it. however, I am mad at him because he failed to own his own culpability in perpetuating the culture of homophobia. Hey Alec, how about an “I AM SORRY,” and this whole thing could have blown over. But no, Mr. Holier than Thou never admits mistakes, and the rest of the world can f*** off if we disagree with him. Bye bye Alec.

  29. bryan says

    Way bigger fish to fry than Alec Baldwin. He’s been smeared by the Dept of Gay Justice way too much. Of course he’s hot headed and says ludicrous things but he’s not the homophobe he’s been painted as – Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan should be held at least somewhat responsible for pouncing on and smearing the wrong guy.

  30. tooboot says

    It is so interesting to me that both he and Shia LaBouf both are “leaving public life” by being very public about it and they were both at loggerheads in Orphans which got LaBouf fired. It sounds to me that there was just too much narcissism in the room for both of them.

  31. Gavin says

    This is at least the second time he has said he would be leaving the public life…I believe the first time was when the pleasant voice mail he left for his then teenage daughter was released to the media, and he said he knew his career was over, and he was going to quit 30 Rock and leave the public eye…and yet, here he is again.

    I don’t think he’s homophobic. I think he’s just a hot-head and needs therapy to be able to handle the issues he has.

    I also don’t believe for a second his story about Hawaii…and he REALLY should have known better than to use “tranny”…I’m sure he does know…but this is his way of retaliating against a group he blames for his current predicament. He’s not homophobic, just hateful…to many different people. It’s hard to be Alec Baldwin.

  32. Blake says

    The problems in this situation were Cooper, Sullivan and Maddow. They believe they speak for the entire gay population, like swelled headed valedictorian snobs.

  33. Blake says

    The problems in this situation were Cooper, Sullivan and Maddow. They believe they speak for the entire gay population, like swelled headed valedictorian snobs.

  34. Philip says

    This reminds me so much of a five year old who after being disciplined for misbehavior tells his family that he is running away and “NEVER EVER COMING BACK!!!”

  35. Icebloo says

    Aw the poor spoiled baby not getting enough attention ? Have to make a big, dramatic announcement to get any headlines ? What a self absorbed, over-privileged drama queen !

  36. Randy says

    What he said is largely correct. But he needs to also accept responsibility for his behavior, which he doesn’t seem to have done.

    I will miss him about as much as I’d miss MSNBC.

  37. Neil says

    This went off the 2/24 page fast. Gays are as spineless as the predicted protests at the Olympics. They simply must be ignored and let them drip into their proposed short lived marital bliss. Let them drown in their Cheerios.

  38. FFS says

    Sociopath. I hope Andy Cohen does the one thing he’s really good for and decides to stir the pot the next time he has Rachel on a guest. I’d kill to hear her excoriate Alec over this crap.

    Blake, no one ever claimed to speak for you. You clearly have greater allegiance to the idiot community than to the LGBT community. We’re all fine with that. You do you.