Alec Baldwin just can’t seem to stop expressing his personal anxiety over the #MeToo movement.
This time, the actor’s comments come in a new episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which will begin streaming on Netflix next Friday, July 6.
“Isn’t it a new world between men and women now?” Baldwin, a rare repeat guest on the streaming show, asks Seinfeld as they drive from New York City to their shared childhood hometown of Massapequa, Long Island. “We’ve got to really, really be vigilant. Ever vigilant.”
“I put my arm around my wife the other day and literally my arm, like it was an electric charge,” Baldwin continues, jerking his arm away and making Seinfeld crack up. “I put my arm around my wife’s waist and then went, ‘Oh, I’m sorry! Was that inappropriate?’”
In response, Seinfeld says, in his classic deadpan delivery, “You may be over implementing the new guidelines.”
As a stand-alone joke, Baldwin’s comment would be harmless enough. But it comes after months of both defending those who have been accused of sexual misconduct and framing the entirement movement as some sort of witch hunt against otherwise innocent men.
It started when Baldwin’s close friend and collaborator James Toback was accused by what ended up being nearly 400 different women of sexual harassment and abuse. Baldwin was quick to attack a reporter who questioned why he had not yet spoken out against Toback.
“I don’t know that Jimmy has done anything criminal. It sounds like many people are saying that he has. That he has assaulted them,” Baldwin said last October when the number of women accusing Toback had already ballooned to 300. “If that’s true, that’s news to me. I never had any idea that Jimmy’s appetites took him in that direction.”
He only made matters worse when he first admitted to hearing that Harvey Weinstein had raped Rose McGowan and then lashed out at another of Weinstein’s alleged victims, Asia Argento, for condemning his inaction. “If you paint every man with the same brush, you’re gonna run out of paint or men,” Baldwin told her, prompting a vicious rebuke from Argento’s boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain.
“You are really too dumb to pour piss out of a boot,” Bourdain tweeted at Baldwin, who promptly blocked both him and Argento on Twitter. In an interview with The Daily Beast just a few months before his death, Bourdain advised Baldwin to “just shut up.”
Yet clearly Baldwin has had trouble doing so, as evidenced by his continued defense of Woody Allen and criticism of that filmmaker’s daughter Dylan Farrow, who says she was sexually molested by her father as a young girl.
And this is not even the first time Baldwin and Seinfeld have discussed the issue on camera. Back in March, during a test pilot for a new ABC talk show called Sundays with Baldwin, the actor said he didn’t understand how figures like Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer were able to get away with their abusive behavior for so long. “You’re a guy who has been in show business and knows very, very well the power structure,” Seinfeld told him at the time, “and how position is exploited. You know very well how that’s done.” Does he?
From there, Baldwin proceeded to express sympathy for someone like Kevin Spacey, who has been accused of molesting boys as young as 14. “It’s always so sad to watch people self-destruct. Even though they’re horrible people, some of them,” Baldwin said of his Glengarry Glen Ross co-star. He predicted the altered public perception would be a “death sentence” for Spacey, without ever acknowledging the plight of his victims.
This new conversation with Seinfeld does not contain any boastful pronouncements about his 2020 prospects against Donald Trump like the ones he made on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM show this month. And perhaps because the episode seems to have been taped relatively far in advance of airing, Baldwin doesn’t weigh in at all on the president—yet another accused sexual predator—whom he has been portraying on Saturday Night Live for the better part of two years now.
Baldwin does, however, take a moment to acknowledge his “problematic” place in the culture as only he can. “You’re the kind of person who everybody has an opinion about,” Seinfeld tells him at one point. “Nobody’s neutral about you.”
Nodding his head, Baldwin replies, “When I’m gone, they’re going to miss me.”