Alec Baldwin says he’s leaving public life, delivering that news in a very public way with a lengthy missive in Monday’s New York magazine.
“I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media — but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again,” Baldwin told writer Joe Hagan in the piece, which can be read in full at New York’s Vulture site.
FOR THE RECORD
9:20 a.m. May 16: An earlier version of this post stated that Alec Baldwin’s comments appeared in the New Yorker magazine. They were in New York magazine.
The 55-year-old says he hasn’t changed, but public life has.
“It used to be you’d go into a restaurant and the owner would say, ‘Do you mind if I take a picture of you and put it on my wall?’ Sweet and simple. Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket. Add to that predatory photographers and predatory videographers who want to taunt you and catch you doing embarrassing things. (Some proof of which I have provided.) You’re out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever.”
Baldwin, who’s had more than his share of clashes with paparazzi on the streets of New York, laments how the media has changed, calling it now “superfluous at best and toxic at its worst” and name-checking his “30 Rock” network NBC, the Huffington Post, TMZ and MSNBC as examples. He calls out people including MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, TMZ’s Harvey Levin and CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
In setting up his case for going private, the actor cites several events from the recent past, including run-ins with paparazzi, a false story that wife Hilaria Baldwin was tweeting from James Gandolfini’s funeral, his Broadway experience with Shia LaBeouf, the whirlwind of stories around his alleged use of a gay slur (he says he didn’t say the word) and his firing from MSNBC and further fallout in the wake of that “homophobe” controversy, including his parting of the ways with Capital One.
“Am I bitter about some of the things that have happened to me in the past year? Yes, I’m a human being,” he says. “I always had big ambitions. I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years.”
Interestingly, Baldwin cites L.A. -- the home of Justin Bieber, Charlie Sheen and the Kardashians -- as a place where he might be able to get away from the media spotlight.
“I probably have to move out of New York,” he says. “I just can’t live in New York anymore. Everything I hated about L.A. I’m beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal. I used to hate that. But New York has changed. ... I have to accept that. I want my newest child to have as normal and decent a life as I can provide. New York doesn’t seem the place for that anymore.”
Apparently, retiring from public life doesn’t include retiring from Twitter, where on Monday Baldwin’s ABFalecbaldwin account posted a couple of Instagram pics of wife Hilaria, one of them with baby Carmen, and a note to Piers Morgan wishing him well and hoping to see him back on the air again soon.
Meanwhile, writer Hagan gave CNN, via the Wrap, some back story on the piece.
“It came out of the blue,” Hagan said Monday. “It was very unusual actually, it was not through a publicist or anything like — that he just came to me. … He genuinely wanted to understand what happened to the media — such that he arrived at this point where his career had been tarnished.”
What do you think? Will Baldwin relocate and keep his head down, or is this another emotional outburst? Let us know in comments.