Saturday, November 16, 2013

Au revoir, Alec or Bye Bye, Baldwin

Actor Alec Baldwin has had several high profile meltdowns over the years.

  • About seven years ago, an angry voice mail he left for his then 11-year old daughter Ireland was leaked to the public.
  • Nearly two years ago, he was asked to leave an American Airline flight after he angrily refused to comply with federal regulations to turn off cellular phones. 
  • Five months ago, he berated a reporter who alleged that Baldwin's wife Hilaria was updating her Twitter feed while attending actor James Gandolfini's funeral. Baldwin tweeted several angry responses to those allegations, including using a gay slur when speaking of the offending journalist. 
  • Then in late August, Baldwin physically accosted a freelance photographer by pinning him to the hood of a car. I don't deny that the paparazzi can be incredibly annoying but the response didn't appear to be in proportion with the cameraman's behavior. 

Yet in light of all that, Baldwin was inexplicably hired by MSNBC to host a weekly TV talk show. The official announcement occurred less than two weeks after the late August incident where Baldwin was involved in the fracas with a photographer.

One of the quotes from the official announcement of Baldwin's show was....interesting (emphasis mine).

"I've been talking with Alec for a while and can't wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC," network president Phil Griffin said in a statement on Thursday. "He's got such passion for ideas and what's going on in the world - he's going to be a great addition to our line-up."

Exactly what kind of "personality" was Griffin expecting? The pompous, insufferable, thin-skinned persona which causes Baldwin to morph into an unhinged lunatic, both verbally and physically? If so, Griffin's expectations were met as Baldwin was involved in yet another highly publicized scrape this past Thursday, where he yet again used a gay slur. This time it was too much to ignore, as MSNBC announced it is suspending Baldwin's weekly talk show for two weeks (only five episodes have aired thus far).

Baldwin himself released a statement Friday upon MSNBC's decision.

I would like to address the comments I made this past week.

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.

I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues at msnbc – both for my actions and for distracting from their good work. Again, please accept my apology.

One has to wonder what the MSNBC brass was thinking when they broached the idea of Baldwin hosting a show on their network. If one says the name "Alec Baldwin" does one think of a talented actor with a high-profile, idealistic and progressive voice or a short-tempered individual who seems to have little tolerance for his fellow humans? I would argue it's the latter, especially when you consider the broad appeal for news about celebrities' private lives. After all, a lot of the news about Baldwin's maniacal behavior was first reported by entertainment venues like TMZ or E! online. Those mediums aren't exactly dedicated to providing insights about the Affordable Care Act and immigration reform.

I wouldn't be shocked if Baldwin's TV show never returns. Neither will Alec for that matter.


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