Friday, MSNBC announced the 2-week suspension of Baldwin’s newly minted show after this week’s “c***sucking f*g” incident. Baldwin’s response is part apology, part accusation, in which he recants some unchoice words but also places most of the blame on the media and even “one crusader in the gay community.” It conveys the clear sense that he does not expect his show to return. Here’s how it opens:
I think it is important to note, in light of recent events, a couple of clarifications.
One is that I never used the word faggot in the tape recording being offered as evidence against me. What word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear. But I can assure you, with complete confidence, that a direct homophobic slur (or indirect one for that matter) is not spoken. In the wake of referring to a tabloid "journalist" as a toxic queen, I would never allow myself to make that mistake again, nor would I expose my wife and family to the attendant ridicule. My friends who happen to be gay are baffled by this. They see me as one who has recently fought for marriage equality and has been a supporter of gay rights for many years. Now, the charge of being a "homophobic bigot," to quote one crusader in the gay community, is affixed.
Another issue I want to address is the decision by MSNBC to suspend my show. Whether the show comes back at all is at issue right now. ... But if the show dies, its fate ends up being no different than the vast majority of start-up TV programming, and so be it.
In his defense of his actions, Baldwin claims that his combative reaction to paparazzi stems from his concern for his family and neighbors:
Photographers have tripped and fallen on babies in strollers on my block. They have nearly struck my wife in the face with microphones. They provoke me, daily, by getting dangerously close to me with their cameras as weapons, hoping I will react. When I do, the weapon doubles as a device to record my reaction. And then, apparently, I lose every time.
Perhaps most interesting is the blame Baldwin assigns to what he paints as a hypocritical media, who cheerfully jumped on the “homophobic” characterization “without fact or reflection”:
...the assertion that I am a bigoted homophobe travels at light speed and, at least in the case of those who like their internet news without fact or reflection, is accepted, even cheered, without a moment of doubt.
Additionally, the press never turns the camera around on themselves. Least of all the tabloid press. My wife is a young mother with a newborn child. Yet reporters harass and hector her and our baby outside our home in ways that approximate a hockey brawl. It is shameful. And it should be illegal.