When I first started watching Alec Baldwin’s “apology” on “The View,” (videos below) I thought “what an asshole.” Eventually, though, I see how Baldwin was shut out of his daughter’s life by his ex-wife and while it doesn’t excuse the terrible things he said, it does make sense in context, although it’s not at all justifiable. Of course there’s the issue that we never should have heard this, and Baldwin talks about how people can publish anything with just the push of a button, but it’s out now and he should have kept his mouth shut or started out with a sincere and meaningful apology. He redeems himself at the end of the interview, though, and you can see the pain and frustration he’s been going through in a vain attempt to maintain a relationship with his daughter.
He comes off as incredibly arrogant at the beginning, but then he talks about much he loves his daughter, isn’t going to give up on her, and just wants to spend time with her. The entire family dynamic is very dysfunctional and Basinger is described as a neurotic person who does whatever it takes to alienate her daughter from her father and keep him shut out of her life.
Baldwin starts off on a sour note, saying he has three things to say. It is only until after the commercial break, as shown in the second video below, that Baldwin utters a real apology. The three points he tries to make first off are that:
1. He said something he “really meant to say to someone else, and that “there’s nothing wrong with being angry [but] I took it out on the wrong person.”
2. Many people are abused and because they identify with this situation they “would tear into me in a very very corrosive way,” which he totally understands, but swears this is the first time this ever happened and that he never raised his voice to Ireland before except to tell her not to go out into traffic.
3. And this is where he really blows it at the beginning of the interview: he talks about how f’ed up the tabloid media are and he goes way over the top in attacking people for daring to report on the very nasty things he said to his daughter:
The third thing I learned… is how much the people in the tabloid media are themselves people who are abused, and are people who live with shameful secrets, and they make it their career to humuliate you and expose your secrets. Like the guy that’s responsible for this tape coming out… I called some friends of mine in LA and I said what’s his story, and they told me his story what he’s all about, where’s he’s coming from, what are his secrets, and you find out that everybody who works in tabloid media are people are people who are filled with self-hatred and shame and the way that they manage those feelings is that they destroy the lives of other people and they expose your secrets. It’s like I couldn’t get over how they could be all day long.
[Transcribed from video of Alex Baldwin’s appearance on “The View”]
When I first read on Gawker that he ripped into the tabloid media like that, I thought they were somehow joking about it, but he did say those things, and again he sounds like a mobster. You hurt me, I hurt you type of thing, which is something that is understandable, I mean you want to find out dirt about the people who wronged you, but you don’t talk about it on national television like you’re proud of it. The first three points he made all seemed like he was being defensive and blaming everyone else for the issue. Again, while this tape never should have come out, he should have worked on being more humble about it in his initial speech.
Here’s the first part of the interview:
In the second part after the break, he sort-of apologizes but it’s like he was reminded to do it by Rosie and Barbara and he doesn’t seem to mean it. He says “Obviously, calling your child a pig or anything else is improper and inappropriate and I apologized to my daughter for that,” but then he quickly launches into a speech about how people have told him that they’ve yelled at their kids like that too, and it’s not a reason to lose custody rights:
In the first part of the interview he told a story about how he spent two weeks with Ireland and loved doing the little things with her like making toast and picking up her ballet slippers when she forgot them. That visit was mandated by court order, and when Ireland was returned to her mom, Basinger shut off the phone for ten days and he wasn’t able to speak with her. He says he knows people who have children from their first marriage who just have to write them off because their ex-wives won’t let them see them and they can’t do anything about it.
His frustation is understandable, but I felt kind of dirty after watching this, like it’s family problems that are caused by generations of dysfunction and pushed down on these young kids that are innocent until they’re exposed to such anger and manipulation. Indeed, he says something like that, about how the whole world was able to witness something that in the past only a handful of people would have known about secondhand.
Alec said he wanted to quit “30 Rock” after the tape was released, but that he was told he should stay on. He then plugged his book, which is about “divorce litigation,” and said he would like to devote himself “to the cause of parental alienation.” He is working toward equality in divorce litigation, and says he wouldn’t care if he never acted again.
You know, you can tell the guy really cares and tries. He gets choked up when talking about his mom, who he admits to having a troubled relationship with. He seems like a guy who feels things deeply, gets eaten up inside and doesn’t know how else to deal with it except to blow up.
Near the end he says “I want to say I am sorry to anyone who is offended by what happened, I’m sad about the way it all played out, and I have a dream in my heart, deep in my heart, to go out this door today and do something in my life which is very meaningful to me. I want you to know, I have tens of thousands of men contact me over the years who are victims of parental alienation, and if you think they’re angry, you should hear the voices of the women in their lives now.”
He then tells a story about how he wakes his daughter up by rubbing her hair while his wife yells at her to get the hell up. If you’re getting divorced, he says, you should try to make peace early on and not let the anger drag out.
No one seems blameless in this particularly bitter celebrity divorce, but one thing is certain – it’s the child who is suffering.
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