Four years ago, the actor Alec Baldwin temporarily deleted his Twitter account after unleashing a homophobic rant against a Daily Mail writer, referring to him as a “toxic little queen.”
The writer had, based on scant evidence, accused Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, of posting upbeat social-media messages on her Twitter and Instagram accounts while she and her husband were attending his pal James Gandolfini’s funeral—a truly heinous charge, if unfounded.
Today, Baldwin has vowed once again to take a break from Twitter after a strange meltdown.
It all began yesterday, when the 30 Rock actor sat down for an interview with PBS Newshour to discuss the mounting sexual-assault allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and Baldwin’s good pal, James Toback.
“You heard the rumor that [Weinstein] raped Rose McGowan. You heard that over and over, and nothing was done. We’ve heard that for decades and nothing was done,” said Baldwin. When the interviewer said “well nobody said anything,” Baldwin replied, “Well but what happened was Rose McGowan took a payment of $100,000 and settled her case with him. It was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case.”
First, McGowan tweeted out a link to the video interview with the message, “Told you everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more. #ROSEARMY.” Then, Asia Argento, who also accused Weinstein of raping her, tweeted a link to the video with her own, more pointed message: “Hey @AlecBaldwin you’re either a complete moron or providing cover for your pals and saving your rep. Maybe all three.”
This missive caused Baldwin to fire back, tweeting, “If you paint every man w the same brush, you’re gonna run out of paint or men @AsiaArgento.”
Argento accused Baldwin of “mansplaining ‘the cause’ for women everywhere,” and then Baldwin proceeded to block her on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Argento’s boyfriend, the chef and CNN host Anthony Bourdain, replied to Baldwin’s tweet at Argento with, “You are really too dumb to pour piss out of a boot.” Baldwin, as is his wont, came back and said, “You should stick to eating worms and keep your mouth shut,” before allegedly blocking Bourdain, too.
In addition to his PBS Newshour comments, Baldwin has received heavy criticism for his relationship with the aforementioned James Toback, an indie filmmaker accused of sexual misconduct by hundreds of women—including the actresses Rachel McAdams and Selma Blair.
Baldwin has made several films with Toback, including the 2013 HBO documentary-satire Seduced and Abandoned, wherein the two pals jokingly try to secure financing for a bogus film at Cannes. The doc featured not one, but two alleged serial sexual predators. In one scene, Toback and Baldwin sit down and have a friendly chat with Roman Polanski, who stands accused of raping five underage girls between the ages of 10 and 16.
Writing for The Decider, journalist Kayla Cobb took issue with the tenor of the documentary in the wake of the Toback allegations. “Knowing what we do now, ‘Seduced and Abandoned’s’ ‘boys will be boys’ tone transforms from mildly charming to repulsive. As a viewer it’s deeply uncomfortable to watch Toback confidently saunter into exclusive meeting after exclusive meeting knowing that the director has likely already forced several women to help him get off.”
This led Baldwin to tweet the following, apparently siding with Trump surrogate Peter Thiel and N-word spewer Hulk Hogan over Gawker and the First Amendment.
He then tweeted (and deleted) a fairly sexist message to Cobb: “Why don’t you let prosecutors and real journalists investigate such cases and you stick to divorces and plastic surgery.”
Argento also tweeted out a photo from Seduced and Abandoned featuring Baldwin, Toback and Polanski, writing, “I found this pic of #romanpolanski, #JamesToback and @AlecBaldwin last week. It’s so wrong it took me days to post it.” Baldwin replied, “But you realize I produced that doc and interviewed Roman BEFORE these recent allegations?
Rita Panahi, an Iranian-Australian columnist for the Herald Sun, tweeted a screenshot of the Argento-Baldwin exchange with the message: “But it was AFTER Polanski had fled justice AFTER drugging & anally raping a child. Get in the bin, @AlecBaldwin. Stay strong, @AsiaArgento.”
So what did Baldwin do next? He replied with a link to the Wikipedia page for Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, a strange Polanski truther documentary. Not only have many of the film’s claims been refuted, but it was distributed by none other than Harvey Weinstein.
As for the allegations against Polanski, you can read more here. (Warning: It’s highly disturbing stuff.)
Baldwin responded to the online backlash by tweeting out a six-part apology, writing, “it is w some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this a TWITTER account for a period of and in the current climate…It was never my intention, in my public statements, to ‘blame the victim’ in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently…I simply posited that the settlement of such cases certainly delayed justice, though I am fully aware that those settlements were entered into w understanding that settlement is wise, intimidated into believing so. My heart goes out to all such victims. My goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality. Au revoir.”