Remember when we thought that putting Alec Baldwin in a toupee to make fun of our idiot president could actually save us?
About 20 national crises, five racist comments, and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ago, you couldn’t throw a virtual stone without hitting a glowing think piece about political humor in the Trump era. We were told that Trump had resuscitated Saturday Night Live and made the ancient sketch comedy show relevant, as if making SNL great again means anything to the average American. Even more ludicrously, we were told that the hit-or-miss political content SNL was producing really mattered because Donald Trump was watching. Since the president reportedly watches eight hours of television a day, logic would then hold that Morning Joe really matters, and that every single cable news show matters. That Finding Dory matters. That whatever ad schilling pharmaceuticals to octogenarians happens to be on Fox News this morning matters. Entresto, welcome to the Resistance.
Of course, SNL would likely posit that they are far more important than the brain-melting cable news content that the president allegedly consumes because they are taking on the administration—speaking truth to power with caustic bits like “Sarah Huckabee Sanders shoves an apple into her mouth” and “We’ve hired a lady to play Sean Spicer, isn’t that funny.” But no one speaks to the ridiculous propping-up of Saturday Night Live like Alec Baldwin, a man whose regular “take-downs” of Donald Trump have helped to cast him as a liberal superhero—despite the fact that Alec Baldwin always was, and continues to be, the absolute worst.
As we’re being reminded every day, being a self-proclaimed liberal dude doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a good guy. Like so many others, it seems that Alec Baldwin’s blind spot is women—that and an unshakeable belief that he is always in the right.
Like countless other men in Hollywood, Baldwin has had disturbing interactions with women in the past. The loudest skeleton in his closet is a leaked voicemail that Baldwin left for his daughter, Ireland. According to a Daily Mail article at the time, Baldwin was angry that his daughter, who lived with her mother in Los Angeles, wasn’t answering her phone. The 49-year-old actor proceeded to berate his daughter, saying, “I don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you’re a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do as far as I’m concerned… You are a rude, thoughtless little pig. You don’t have the brains or the decency as a human being.” He then threatened to “straighten you out on this issue” in person.
If that weren’t enough, in 2013, Baldwin unleashed a barrage of nasty, homophobic tweets at Daily Mail reporter George Stark after he accused his wife, Hilaria, of tweeting during James Gandolfini’s funeral (the story turned out to be bogus). While Stark’s charge was cruel, it didn’t warrant the torrent of abuse, with Baldwin tweeting things like “I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna fuck…you…up” and “If [sic] put my foot up your fucking ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much.”
Baldwin is clearly aware that his actions have raised eyebrows in the past. So when the #MeToo movement began to gather steam in Hollywood, the actor decided to play some three-dimensional gender-misconduct chess, outing himself as a harasser before anyone else got the chance.
In early November, Alec Baldwin spoke out against Alec Baldwin at a Paley Center event in his honor, admitting to the audience that, “From time to time, I’ve done what a lot of men do, which is… when you don’t treat women the same way you treat men. You don’t. I’m from a generation where you really don’t and I’d like that to change. I really would like that to change.”
Baldwin confessed, “I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I’ve bullied women. I’ve overlooked women. I’ve underestimated women.” He explained that the post-Weinstein reckoning had been “a very eye-opening experience for me personally,” adding, “We’ve got to be vigilant in a new way to make sure that everybody is comfortable and that we get the job done together that we’re there to do.”
Of course, it was hard to take Baldwin’s resolutions seriously when Baldwin had so recently attacked a female reporter for writing about him in relation to accused abuser James Toback.
After The Decider’s Kayla Cobb reflected on Toback and Baldwin’s 2013 documentary, Seduced and Abandoned, the actor, who had yet to issue a statement on his old pal Toback, went on the offensive. “I cheered when Gawker lost its case to Hulk,” Baldwin wrote from his foundation’s Twitter account. “So, of course The Decider wants to tar me w the Toback brush. Kayla Cobb, ur a dreadful writer.” In a now-deleted tweet, he continued, “Why don’t you let prosecutors and real journalists investigate such cases and you stick to divorces and plastic surgery.”
However suspect, Baldwin’s commitment to increased accountability, self-improvement, and gender equity was laudable. It lasted a day. The Paley Center event took place on Thursday, Nov. 2, and that Friday, PBS posted an interview in which the actor appeared to criticize Rose McGowan for accepting a settlement from Harvey Weinstein, saying, “When women take money, and are silenced by that money, even though they took the money and were silenced because they were told beyond the money it was the right thing for them to do, keep quiet, don’t make too many waves, it’s going to hurt your career. When they do it, nonetheless, does it set back the cause of change?”
In response, fellow Weinstein accuser Asia Argento posted the interview to Twitter, writing “@AlecBaldwin you’re either a complete moron or providing cover for your pals and saving your own rep. Maybe all three.” To which the actor unwisely responded, “If you paint every man w the same brush, you’re gonna run out of paint or men”—setting off a back-and-forth with Argento and her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, that ended in Baldwin blocking both of them.
Baldwin, who had been tweeting from his foundation’s account, took to his personal Twitter to announce a break from social media. “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,” the actor began. “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 the 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.”
In early December, Baldwin visited everyone’s favorite white Santa truther, Megyn Kelly, to share more of his rapidly deteriorating #MeToo takes. “You certainly want to see everybody who’s guilty of something, who’ve done bad things, wrong things and hurt people, you want to see those people get punished,” the actor held forth. “There’s a lot of accusations and no proof yet. I don’t want to see people get hurt.” Also in December, he seemingly defended accused sexual harasser Dustin Hoffman, tweeting, “What Hoffman did several years ago was vulgar/offensive/crude. But was it done with malice?…His humor, his sexualized behavior seems ridiculous and inappropriate now. But it was, to a degree, of its time.”
Recently, Baldwin seems more resolved than ever to disappoint his few remaining fans—and continue to break his promise to never tweet.
On Tuesday, the actor returned to his foundation’s Twitter account to defend Woody Allen, even as the tide of public opinion seems to finally be turning in deference to Dylan Farrow’s child molestation allegations. While numerous actors have come forward to say that they believe Farrow, who has long accused her adopted father of sexual abuse, Baldwin has inexplicably chosen to speak out in opposition.
“Woody Allen was investigated forensically by two states (NY and CT) and no charges were filed. The renunciation of him and his work, no doubt, has some purpose. But it’s unfair and sad to me. I worked w WA 3 times and it was one of the privileges of my career,” Baldwin wrote in the first of two unsolicited tweets. “Is it possible to support survivors of pedophilia and sexual assault/abuse and also believe that WA is innocent? I think so. The intention is not to dismiss or ignore such complaints. But accusing ppl of such crimes should be treated carefully. On behalf of the victims, as well.”
Attacking sexual-assault accusers, unleashing misogynistic rants on Twitter and undermining the media? Maybe there’s hope for Alec Baldwin’s shitty Donald Trump impression after all.