Blogger Andrew Sullivan thinks formal legal action should be taken against Alec Baldwin following the 30 Rock actor’s extreme, homophobic, and (frankly) crazed tweets about Daily Mail journalist George Stark. Stark had alleged that Baldwin’s wife Hilaria was tweeting while in attendance at James Gandolfini‘s funeral, and Baldwin found that finding erroneous and — apparently — grounds for a multi-tweet tirade and attack. Here are Baldwin’s (now deleted) tweets about the event, listed in reverse chronology.
“He knew the target was gay, and threatened to beat him up, and urged others – up to a million others who follow his tweets – to beat him up. Why, I wonder, has Baldwin not been arrested? In my view, George Stark should press charges. Bigoted bullies like Baldwin need to know that their stardom (and their ‘liberal’ past) does not excuse this. Kids are brutalized by this kind of language every day; they commit suicide because of this kind of language; others are killed by those who share Baldwin’s homophobic rage.
And yet he still hasn’t apologized to the gay community for inciting gay-bashing. The reason he escapes censure is because of liberal bias, which, when it defends homophobic violence, is particularly repellent. [snip] Fuck that. If he had used the n-word and threatened to lynch a black dude, would anyone doubt his career should be over? And yet gays and lesbians are defending him. How many African-Americans are coming to the defense of Paula Deen?”
Baldwin wrote a letter to GLAAD in which he tried to explain his rant, saying, “My ill-advised attack on George Stark of the Daily Mail had absolutely nothing to do with issues of anyone’s sexual orientation. My anger was directed at Mr. Stark for blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information about my wife and her conduct at our friend’s funeral service. As someone who fights against homophobia, I apologize.”
But of course, that’s just the problem: Baldwin’s issue with Stark had nothing to do with his sexual orientation — as if that would justify such a screed — yet everything he said about Stark was hideously homophobic. There was no reason for Baldwin even to bring up in his apology how Stark may have been “blatantly lying and disseminating libelous information,” because that’s not the issue either. This is about a celebrity who wanted to exploit a journalist’s alleged sexual orientation and use his Twitter clout to bring massive (perhaps violent) attention towards that journalist. He invoked gay slurs to legitimize the idea of attacking Stark. I’m with Sullivan when he says that, at the very least, George Stark should press charges. The fact that Stark should feel at all obligated to protect himself from bodily harm is reason enough. The reason that I’m thinking about Stark’s bodily safety is reason enough.