By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
Accomplished actor Alec Baldwin, 55, addresses his decision to keep out of the public eye and the reasons behind it in an essay published by Vulture last week.
The Long Island actor has starred in many productions on film, television and Broadway. He is most famous for his role as Jack Donaghy on “30 Rock”, which ended with its seventh season in Jan. 2013
His unfortunate run-ins with paparazzi, however have also garnered more attention than his television role, particularly when he’s dropped gay slurs. His most recent use incident, which occurred in Nov. 2013, put him in hot water with prominent members of the LGBT community such as Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan.
In his essay, Baldwin acknowledges these events as misconstrued by the media. In fact, he goes on to mention that he contacted different LGBT organizations and talked with them in order to gain a better perspective about the plight that those who fall under LGBT often face. He goes on to lament about the state of public life, in which there is no privacy due to the ease of snapping pictures on smart phones and the fast paced social media world.
Of course, it all comes back to the slur that set off all his recent hardships. That slur lost him his show on MSNBC as well as respect and credibility among various established personalities.
I think being a celebrity of Baldwin’s status in this day and age is a sacrifice. At the expense of privacy and personal space, you achieve fame and glory. While it may not be fair by any means, it is the choice Baldwin made a long time ago.
Society’s appetite for outrageous and controversial stories is at an all time high. People like Alec Baldwin give audiences around the country opportunities to observe and judge him, almost like a zoo animal, often without realizing one key fact: celebrities are humans too.
As shameful as Baldwin’s comments were, it does bring to light the fact that these slurs are accepted by some places. As someone who currently lives in a city full of college students, I’ve heard equally as hurtful – if not worse – comments from students to their friends in passing. While Baldwin is much older, and therefore perceived as wiser, in the heat of the moment anything can slip out.
At least Baldwin had the courage to address his critics and put out his thoughts and feelings. While these thoughts may have burned bridges and incited negativity, he created a way to address the dialogue that’s been leveled against him.
And let’s not forget that he did end the essay with a concession: “And, admittedly, this is how I feel in February of 2014.”
Rather than charging Baldwin with a list of grievances he has committed, perhaps we as a society should take a closer examination at what we find acceptable in public. If anything, Baldwin’s blunders serve as a reminder to the rest of us that there is still a ways to go in fully accepting the LGBT community, and that we are all accountable for the actions we take and the words we say.