Alec Baldwin: Country’s Obsession With the Private Lives of Famous People Is Tragic

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 16 2013 2:36 PM

Alec Baldwin: Country’s Obsession With the Private Lives of Famous People Is Tragic

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Actor Alec Baldwin leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after testifying against accused stalker Canadian actress Genevieve Sabourin on November 12, 2013 in New York.

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

After MSNBC suspended Alec Baldwin’s show Up Late With Alec Baldwin following claims that the actor shouted a homophobic insult at a photographer, the former 30 Rock star took to his blog in the Huffington Post to defend himself and insist he’s willing to give everything up to get his privacy back. The whole controversy began Thursday, when TMZ published video of Baldwin yelling at a reporter. The website insists Baldwin called the photographer a “cocksucking fag,” a charge the actor who has gotten in trouble in the past for his far-from-gay-friendly language vehemently denies.

In a post on his Huffington Post blog on Saturday, Baldwin insists he “never used the word faggot,” only saying that “what word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear.” The actor goes on to write that whether his MSNBC show “comes back at all is at issue right now.”

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Baldwin also gets personal though, writing that he is “concerned for my family,” adding that paparazzi can “make life miserable for my neighbors” and there’s nothing that authorities can do about it. Photographers “provoke me, daily, by getting dangerously close to me with their cameras as weapons, hoping I will react,” writes Baldwin. “When I do, the weapon doubles as a device to record my reaction.” He goes on to offer a theory as to why Americans are so interested in celebrities:

This country's obsession with the private lives of famous people is tragic. It's tragic in the sense that it is so clearly a projection of people's frustration about their government, their economy, their own spiritual bankruptcy. You have no voice in Washington. In Washington, or in any statehouse, no one actually cares what you think. So you post online, you vote with a Roman-esque thumbs up or down on the celebrity debacle of the day. That is your right. It's also fatal misdirection of your voice and need to judge. Occupy Wall Street, on their worst day, had more integrity than the comments page of a website ever will.

In the end, he may just have to call it quits: “If quitting the television business, the movie business, the theater, any component of entertainment, is necessary in order to bring safety and peace to my family, then that is an easy decision.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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