Updated Nov. 6, 2017, 1:00 p.m. PT: Alec Baldwin is leaving Twitter after some of the comments he’s made about the Harvey Weinstein scandal and other recent claims of sexism, assault and harassment in Hollywood were perceived by some to be victim-blaming.
In an interview with PBS News Hour, Baldwin was asked why “nobody said anything” about Rose McGowan’s claims about Weinstein. Baldwin answered, “What happened was that Rose McGowan took a payment of $100,000 and settled her case with him. And it was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case.”
In a series of tweets announcing his decision to take a break from Twitter amid this controversy, Baldwin wrote, “It is w some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this, a TWITTER account, for a period of [sic] and in the current climate.”
1- 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.
— AlecBaldwin (@AlecBaldwin) November 4, 2017
He continued, “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.”
Alec Baldwin just owned up to treating women poorly throughout his career, and honestly? We’re not sure how to feel about it.
While receiving a career honor from the Paley Center for Media on Thursday, Baldwin told reporters, “I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I’ve bullied women. I’ve overlooked women. I’ve underestimated women. Not as a rule, [but] 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’s comments come on the heels of accusations of widespread sexual harassment, assault and even rape made against other prominent men in Hollywood. Several of the film industry’s most powerful men have seen their careers come crashing down in recent weeks, including Harvey Weinstein, actor Kevin Spacey and directors Brett Ratner and James Toback.
Baldwin didn’t outright admit to any sexual harassment or assault, only sexist behaviors. And immediately after calling for change in the industry, he admitted that he knew about the reputations these men had and never did anything about it. Like so many men, he stood by, silently complicit.
“I knew of certain things that there were rumors of things happening to people, but I didn’t necessarily know the scope when you hear the hundreds and hundreds of women who are complaining about this,” he said. “In all the time I’ve known Jimmy [Toback], I never had one conversation about his sex life, which is not unusual for me because I’m not sitting down with some guy and he’s saying to me, ‘Man, you should have seen what I did last night with this girl in this hotel.’ I don’t go there.”
He continued, “I’d always heard Jimmy [Toback] was peculiar. I remember years ago, with [the movie] The Pick-up Artist, Jimmy had this reputation 20, 25 years ago or more of hitting on [women], going up and saying provocative things to them. I’d heard of that. But in my time with Jimmy, it was absolutely, positively business.”
The problem with Baldwin’s comments is that he’s clearly trying to look like the good guy by coming clean without being publicly accused of misconduct. But he’s actually admitting to the complicity that has allowed this abuse of women to continue, unchecked, for as long as the entertainment industry has existed. If Baldwin really wants to see change, we need more from him than empty words.