Alex Baldwin, 55, is undeniably a talented actor, and the paparazzi know we all want to see what he’s up to — especially after his second child was born this week, the first child for his wife Hilaria, 29. Now carrying a reputation as a “hot head,” Baldwin forcefully pushed a photographer up against a vehicle near a Greenwich Village cafe on Tuesday. But when it comes to physical violence against the paparazzi, the actor is on thin ice because this isn’t his first strike.
This is Baldwin’s third attack against a photographer in the past two years. The first included merely verbal assault, and the second caught Baldwin actually punching a photographer just outside the marriage-license bureau. The incident led to a criminal investigation.
The photographer, Paul Adao, aged 60, was taking photos of Baldwin and his wife when Baldwin came towards him.
“Alec didn’t want them taking any more pictures, so he went over and confronted him,” explained Erick Nguyen, 46, manager of a nearby market. “They were jawing. Baldwin grabbed him and threw him against the car.”
Aside from being emotionally rattled, Adao was not physically injured by the scuffle. “I was just attacked by Alec Baldwin,” the photographer was overheard saying while on the phone to 911. “I’m in the store. I need the police.” No file was reported, and Baldwin was not arrested. Hilaria stood by appearing very upset. Apparently, Baldwin also made a call to 911, but for whose benefit, it’s unknown.
However this incident raises more concern over a rather old issue: Are the paparazzi stepping over the line of merely doing their job and actually crossing into activity that qualifies as harassment? While Baldwin has been pinned with a label of being some kind of ego-maniac, can he really be blamed for getting upset when he is constantly inundated by photographers? Certainly, they’re even more desperate at this time for a photo because of his wife’s recent birth, but does this not also add to his tension and desire for privacy? Or would you argue that a man who wants privacy shouldn’t be walking along the streets of New York in the middle of the day when he’s making millions of dollars based on his fame?
If an insurance salesman or average lawyer chased after people in the street and stalked them in order to make their living, wouldn’t society consider that to be poor form?
Baldwin’s aggression and impatience for the even more aggressive paparazzi is not unique. Justin Bieber once found himself in a physical scuffle with photographers while on an outing with his then-girlfriend, Selena Gomez. Adam Lambert had been grabbed a photographer in 2010 after being followed during a quiet day at the beach. After shaving her head, Britney Spears will never live down the moment she responded to the parade of photographers chasing after her by spearing an umbrella into the window of an SUV. One photographer attempted (and apparently succeeded) to take a photo up-the-skirt of Amy Winehouse.
There are more examples of celebrities fighting back. Jude Law once slugged a photographer on the street in front of a restaurant in London but claimed he was merely attempting to cover his face with his hand, not strike someone. After being rear-ended in her car by two photographers incessantly stalking her, even sitting outside her home, Nicole Richie had a restraining order against the paparazzi. And Kanye West, known for all kinds of amusingly interruptive behavior, once smashed a photographer’s camera while in an American Airlines terminal. The incident was taken to court and West was required to perform community service as punishment.
The list goes on and on.
But something in this story isn’t quite right. Yes, we want photos of celebrities and we love to watch even the most mundane aspects of their lives take place, but establishing a set of guidelines to prevent those in the limelight from feeling truly harassed and stalked seems like an obvious necessity, for everyone’s safety.
Written by: Ginger Vieira