It’s perhaps fair to say that Alec Baldwin has experienced turbulent times, as of late. After demonstrating little in the way of public restraint and becoming embroiled in a series of heated exchanges with various members of the paparazzi, Baldwin now faces the repercussions of his actions. The question now lingers: is Baldwin’s MSNBC talk show dead in the water?
The Homophobic Slur
For those unaware, Baldwin was recently seen venting his spleen at a photographer, on the streets of Manhattan, following his successful courtroom battle against Genevieve Sabourin – an acquaintance that Baldwin had apparently met on the set of The Adventures of Pluto Nash. The judge subsequently sentenced the Canadian actress to seven months imprisonment for aggravated harassment and stalking.
After being hounded by paparazzi throughout much of Thursday and Friday, Baldwin appeared to lose his composure and became engaged in a series of volatile confrontations with numerous members of the press. Some of the lesser offences, which don’t appear to have gained as much media attention, involved Baldwin pushing aside a photographer and forcing a camera out of his hands, mocking a Fox news reporter, hurling a tirade of expletives at a female journalist and driving into a parked car.
However, the incident that has truly left The Aviator star in hot waters took place when he allegedly called a photographer a “c**k sucking f*g,” just outside his plush Manhattan apartment.
Although the star did not initially confess to using the gay slur, he later had a change of heart and partially admitted to his guilt. Taking to Twitter, he had the following to say:
“Rich Ferraro from @glaad informs me that c’sucker is an anti-gay epithet. In which case I apologize and will retire it from my vocabulary.”
This was not the end of matters, however, as Baldwin then threatened to sue the celebrity news site, TMZ, for accusing him of using the word “f*g.” He claims that his derogatory remarks included the word “fathead” as opposed to “f*g.”
MSNBC Talk Show in Jeopardy?
Regardless, Baldwin then issued a groveling apology to his fans, as well as the colleagues of his MSNBC late-night chat show, Up Late with Alec Baldwin. In a statement, posted on MSNBC, the renowned actor had the following to say:
“I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry. Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support. I understand “Up Late” will be taken off the schedule for tonight and next week.”
In the wake of the incident, the late-night talk show was suspended for two weeks and there remains considerable uncertainty surrounding its future. As a columnist for Huffington Post, Baldwin ruminated over recent events, reflecting upon the contingency that his show may not make a return at all:
“Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now… That show is off the air now. I am deeply apologetic to Ron Fried, who worked extremely hard with me on that show.”
He then went on to describe the talk show as a work in progress, but one that he considered to offer interesting information and, as an added bonus, managed to beat CNN’s equivalent show in the ratings department.
He also took the opportunity to reiterate the point that the tape recording that TMZ is using as “evidence” against him was unclear, before going on to categorically state that a direct or indirect homophobic slur was not uttered.
Throughout the post, he explains that he is a staunch proponent of marriage equality and gay rights, and points out that his gay friends are baffled by the recent media storm that has been whipped up.
Baldwin takes an interesting perspective on the media hubbub and their mea culpa in persistently pestering celebrities and in disseminating sensationalist headlines:
“Also, it is interesting to note how, once again, the lie travels around the world quicker than even Twain imagined… the assertion that I am a bigoted homophobe travels at light speed and, at least in the case of those who like their internet news without fact or reflection, is accepted, even cheered, without a moment of doubt.”
He talks about what he perceives to be deplorable behavior from many factions of the media, equating their activity outside his home as being akin to a “hockey brawl,” blocking off streets, annoying his neighbors and inconveniencing local residents, workers and shoppers.
In concluding, he points to the country’s obsession with celebrity culture, describing it as “tragic.” He makes the posit that certain people take to forums and comments sections to weigh in on celebrity debacles, which he considers constitutes a sense of misdirected frustration over the government and economic issues, as well as the public’s own spiritual bankruptcy.
Is Alec Baldwin’s MSNBC late-night talk show already dead in the water? Only time will tell.
By James Fenner
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