Alec Baldwin, after first denying it, admitted to using a homophobic slur; unfortunately for the actor, it is too little too late. His “fessing up” of the anti-gay comment has not stopped MSNBC from yanking his show Up Late on Friday this week and it has been cancelled for next Friday as well.
Baldwin’s new talk show took a direct hit from the MSNBC after the 55 year-old actor’s aggressive and insulting approach to reporters who wanted to get a statement from him. Baldwin’s attitude was one of disdain and he was caught in the act of threatening another reporter on top of his homophobic comment.
Later the 30 Rock star posted a statement on the MSNBC site where he apologised for his anti-gay slurs and aggressive dealings with the press. He also went so far as to apologise to his fans and the network for his behaviour. He mentioned that his show had been pulled for the next two weeks and he went on to explain his actions with the media. Claiming that his reason for being so offensive and acting in such an “unacceptable” manner was because he wanted to protect his family .
It is understandable that Baldwin has been under a lot of stress this week. The trial of the Canadian actress who stalked the star demanded a lot of his time. Earlier in the week when Baldwin testified at the trial, he became tearful during questioning. After the woman was found guilty and sentenced, a reporter from the Fox TV station WNYW asked Alec for a statement. The response was a threat which said that the reporter would have a big problem if he was still there when Baldwin’s wife and child came out.
Baldwin finished by insulting the reporter and saying that he was as dumb as he looked. Looking at the reporter he then asked if he was with Fox News. The anti-gay slur was heard on Thursday when he took offense at how close the press were getting to his family. After the incident, the actor denied that he had used an offensive homophobic slur. Later on he admitted it and apologised. It was a case of too little too late and MSNBC then cancelled Alec Baldwin’s show for two weeks as punishment.
MSNBC have shown their displeasure at Baldwin’s inability to control his actions by killing the one-to-one talk show for a limited time period. It has been pointed out that the network reacted in a similar fashion when another personality broke the rules. News anchor Keith Olbermann was suspended for a few days after it was found that he had made donations to three different Democratic candidates for Congress. The donations were in violations of NBC News’ ethics policy.
Alec Baldwin is a self perpetuating liberal who began building up his reputation while working on 30 Rock. The actor also hosted Saturday Night Live several times showing that he was glib and quick witted while fronting a show. But the Up Late host is not a journalist and his well known liberalism has not guaranteed a huge following on MSNBC. The viewing figures for his new show have been dismal at best.
Nielsen ratings have been poor with the last segment of the show only pulling in 395,000 viewers. In terms of demographic, only 101,000 viewers between the preferred age range of 25 to 54 have tuned in. Somewhat disturbingly to MSNBC the premiere of the new talk show pulled in over 71,000 more viewers in the same age group. With a staggering drop in already low figures things do not look too rosy for Baldwin’s new show.
Alec Baldwin may now be admitting that his statements were homophobic and apologised accordingly, but, his efforts are really too little too late. With viewing figures hovering in the basement he should be working very hard to improve his somewhat caustic image.
By Michael Smith