LEAVING BY BAD EXAMPLE: Alec Baldwin’s Beginner’s Guide To How NOT To Exit Public Life


ALEC BALDWIN: 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. […]

It’s good-bye to public life in the way that you try to communicate with an audience playfully like we’re friends, beyond the work you are actually paid for. Letterman. Saturday Night Live. That kind of thing. I want to go make a movie and be very present for that and give it everything I have, and after we’re done, then the rest of the time is mine. I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience’s approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now.

There’s a way I could have done things differently. I know that. If I offended anyone along the way, I do apologize. But the solution for me now is: I’ve lived this for 30 years, I’m done with it. And, admittedly, this is how I feel in February of 2014. MORE

DAILY BEAST: By calling some one “An F to M tranny” in the first few paragraphs of his mea culpa I-am-not-a-homophobe New York Magazine tell-all, Alec Baldwin is essentially showing up to a Civil Rights rally in black face. It’s a horrible PR move, and just a horrible person move in general. MORE

CNN: Upon first reading of Baldwin’s tirade, you might have missed the solution (after all, the piece is rather long and, at times, tiresome). But the answer is staring us in the face. In fact, it’s staring all of us in the face. Every day. These days, Baldwin said, “everyone has a camera in their pocket.” Not just the Ron Galellas of the world, but all of the John Q. Publics looking for a chance to shame a celebrity. This kind of world is too much for Baldwin, who is prone to losing his temper. But if cameras are small, cheap, and ubiquitous, why not use it to your advantage? Why not take one with you when you go in public, thus ensuring the public can always see your side of the story? “They are baiting you,” Baldwin said in his farewell-to-the-world. “You can tell they want to get into it with you. Some bump into me or block the entrance to my apartment…” Exactly. So why not catch them in the act? Does that sound like too much trouble? Maybe so. But if you’re rich like Baldwin, why not hire someone to follow you around and record life as it happens? Go about your daily life, but have a trusted and well-paid photographer at your side, documenting just how rude, invasive, and aggressive the celebrity chasers can be. Still sound unreasonable? There’s yet another solution that just made itself available. You can record your daily interactions with a wearable camera embedded in your glasses. If you want to show the world what really happened with that jerk of a photographer, just upload the footage from your Google Glass. As USA Today reported earlier this month, police departments are outfitting their officers with wearable cameras to protect both police and citizens against unfair accusations. MORE

NEW YORK POST: Now, I know what you’re going to say: that my palpable derision is derived from some kind of political disdain for the outspoken liberal. Not so. I don’t care about Baldwin’s politics at all. He’s a talented actor and one of my favorite “Saturday Night Live” hosts. I’ve never had a problem putting an entertainer’s personal politics aside. Just ask some of the Hollywood liberals I work with. Or maybe, because I’m an outspoken gay rights proponent, I must hold his appalling anti-gay outbursts against him. But I don’t play that way. Word policing is a boring and childish exercise. Or maybe I judge Baldwin because I judge all of Hollywood? Plenty of conservatives do. But I love the work Hollywood does. And there are plenty of good, decent people doing it. Hollywood doesn’t have to be a set of moral clauses — it can just be an escape clause. No, the problem with Baldwin’s announcement that he is leaving public life was that it is totally, utterly and embarrassingly unnecessary. No one needs Baldwin to use the media to alert the media that he is retreating from the media. No one needs Baldwin to warn the public they might see less of him on TMZ. […] No explanation or announcement required. In fact, announcing his exit in such a grand fashion, and with such an uncontrollable lack of discretion or forgiveness makes me fairly certain this will not be the last we hear from Baldwin-the-sad-little-famous-man. MORE

USA TODAY: Baldwin will have lots of emotion to pour into his role as he makes a guest appearance on NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, playing Jimmy MacArthur, described as “a controversial New York newspaper columnist who questions the SVU squad’s motives during the investigation of a potential hate crime/rape case.” Katie Couric also makes a cameo appearance, playing herself as a talk show host who quizzes Baldwin’s character about the headline-grabbing case. MORE

Alec Baldwin Apologizes…To Alec Baldwin

PREVIOUSLY: Being Alec Baldwin

PREVIOUSLY: Dear Kim Basinger