- Active supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
- Board of Directors member of People for the American Way
- National spokesman for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Alec Baldwin is an “A-list” Hollywood actor and the oldest brother in the Baldwin acting family. (His brothers Daniel, Willam, and Stephen are two, five, and eight years younger than Alec, respectively.) He is also one of the entertainment industry’s most outspoken, combative champions of leftwing causes. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Baldwin once quipped, “They hate liberals who can throw a punch.” When asked to identify whom he was referring to, Baldwin responded: “They, the vast right-wing conspiracy that’s after me.”
Born on April 3, 1958, in Massapequa, New York, Baldwin attended both George Washington and New York Universities. He also studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City.
Baldwin began his career acting in daytime soap operas in the early 1980s. Since then, he has appeared in more than 50 films, including: Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Pearl Harbor. In 1995 he married Kim Basinger, who co-starred with him in the film The Getaway. Basinger has called Baldwin (whom she divorced in 2002) "the biggest moralist I know."
Baldwin was a staunch supporter of President Bill Clinton, for whom he held a summer 1998 fundraiser at his (Baldwin's) Long Island, New York home. The actor was infuriated by the impeachment proceedings which were then in progress against Clinton. In a December 1998 appearance on CNBC’s Upfront Tonight, Baldwin referred to impeachment advocates as "a group of people who want to undo the '96 election." Their "ultimate goal," he said, was "election nullification."
In a December 11, 1998 appearance on Conan O’Brien's late-night NBC talk show, Baldwin was asked about Clinton’s battle to avoid impeachment. An enraged Baldwin said the following about that battle, and about the Republican congressman spearheading the impeachment effort, Henry Hyde:
"... The President is very popular and things are going pretty good and they are voting to impeach the President. They voted on one article of impeachment already. And I come back from Africa to stained dresses and cigars and this and impeachment. I am thinking to myself in other countries they are laughing at us twenty four hours a day and I’m thinking to myself if we were in other countries, we would all right now, all of us together, [starts to shout] all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death! [crowd cheers] Wait! Shut up! Shut up! No shut up! I’m not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and we’d kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families. [stands up screaming] What is happening in this country? What is happening?..."
Baldwin has candidly expressed his contempt for President George W. Bush, describing him as “the little guy that snuck into the theater,” who “popped the window open so that all these other hooligans could come in and just rape and rip off and plunder the government.” According to Kim Basinger, shortly before the 2000 presidential election Baldwin proclaimed that if Bush were to emerge victorious, he (Baldwin) would move out of the United States to another country.
Contending that the 2000 election was rigged, Baldwin in 2002 said: "I believe that what happened in 2000 did as much damage to the pillars of democracy as terrorists did to the pillars of commerce in New York City." "Bush wasn't elected, he was selected — selected by five judges up in Washington who voted along party lines," the actor elaborated. In 2003 Baldwin said, "Everything that Bush touches turns to manure." And in 2004 he said that the Republican Party "has been hijacked by these fundamentalist wackos."
In February 2006, after Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded (with shotgun pellets) a companion during a quail-hunting trip in Texas, Baldwin said:
"Cheney is a terrorist. He terrorizes our enemies abroad and innocent citizens here at home indiscriminately. Who ever thought Harry Whittington [the companion Cheney shot] would be the answer to America's prayers. Finally, someone who might get that lying, thieving Cheney into a courtroom to answer some direct questions."
Baldwin's volatile temper has intimidated a number of people in both his professional and personal life. In 2006, for instance, Tony-nominated actress Jan Maxwell, while co-starring with Baldwin in a stage production titled Entertaining Mr. Sloane, quit the show complaining about Baldwin’s behavior and expressing concerns for her own physical safety. Maxwell said that Baldwin had put his fist through a wall and was "throwing things around with all of us cowering."
In 2007 a voice-mail message was made public in which Baldwin had called his 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, “a rude, thoughtless little pig,” and added “I'm gonna straighten your ass out when I see you, do you understand me?”
Baldwin has frequently used his public stature as a platform from which to advocate on behalf of leftist groups and causes. In 1995 he was a signatory to a New York Times ad voicing support for cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther. Other celebrity leftists who signed the letter included Spike Lee, Noam Chomsky, Roger Ebert, Mike Farrell, Danny Glover, bell Hooks, Michael Moore, Charles Rangel, Susan Sarandon, Gloria Steinem, Norman Mailer, and Cornel West.
In June 1999 Baldwin signed on to a full-page USA Today ad by Handgun Control, Inc. This “Open Letter to the National Rifle Association” demanded the implementation of a number of gun-control measures, including mandatory child-safety locks, background checks, and 72-hour waiting periods for all handgun purchases. Among the other notable signatories to the ad were Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, Phil Donahue, Candice Bergen, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, and Walter Cronkite.
Baldwin sits on the Board of Directors of People for the American Way along with such luminaries as Kathleen Turner and Mary Frances Berry. He is also a national spokesman for the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and a supporter of People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Since October 2005 Baldwin has been writing frequent blogs for The Huffington Post, where he expresses his thoughts on such subjects as politics, foreign policy, the environment, and the entertainment industry. In a December 2006 blog titled “Defeating Terrorism: An Oddly Simple First Step,” Baldwin made the following suggestion:
“There is a way to defeat terrorism while building new and better alliances in the Arab world. It will be an enormously complex and difficult diplomatic puzzle. But the first step might be oddly simple. Get rid of the CIA, which has outlived its usefulness and is an embarrassment to this great country, and rebuild and reform U.S. intelligence capabilities to fight this new type of threat. I think our hopes must begin there.”
Baldwin’s blogs during the 2008 Democratic primaries were filled with praise for each of the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Baldwin saw room for both individuals in the next presidential administration, stating: “One possible consequence of an Obama presidency? Supreme Court Justice Hillary Clinton. Dang, that sounds good.”
From 1989 to 2008, Baldwin gave $130,902 in political contributions, $124,402 of which went to Democrat candidates, and none of which went to Republicans. Beneficiaries of Baldwin’s funding included Al Franken, Ted Kennedy, Richard Durbin, Howard Dean, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, Russell Feingold, Jerrold Nadler, Barbara Boxer, and Hillary Clinton. Baldwin also has given money to the Progressive Politics Network.
In March 2012, Baldwin derided U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) as an “oil whore” who should “retire to a solar-powered gay bar.” The slur was a reference to Inhofe’s new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, wherein the author claimed that it was pure “arrogance” for people to think that anyone other than God could change the earth's climate.
In June 2013, a British journalist, George Stark, wrote that Baldwin’s wife Hilaria had tweeted recipes during the funeral of the recently deceased actor James Gandolfini. Enraged by Stark's article, Baldwin, in a series of tweets, wrote:
“Someone wrote that my wife was tweeting at a funeral. Hey. That’s not true. But I’m gonna tweet at your funeral. George Stark, you lying little b—-. I am gonna f%#@ you up. I want all of my followers and beyond to straighten out this f—ing little b—-, George Stark. My wife and I attend a funeral to pay our respects to an old friend, and some toxic Brit writes this f—ing trash. If put my foot up your f—ing ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much. I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna f—…you…up.”
Baldwin subsequently denied that his remarks were anti-gay:
“The idea of … that being something that people thought is homophobic … a queen to me has a different meaning. It’s somebody who’s just above. I know women that act queeny, I know men that are straight that act queeny, and I know gay men that act queeny. It doesn’t have to be a definite sexual connotation, or a homophobic connotation. To me those are people who think the rules don’t apply to them.”
On October 11, 2013, Baldwin began hosting his own nightly program on MSNBC, titled Up Late With Alec Baldwin.
In mid-November 2013, MSNBC announced that Baldwin was being suspended for two weeks from his television show, as a result of an anti-gay slur he had shouted during an altercation (outside his Manhattan apartment) with a media photographer -- all of which was captured on video. During the dispute, Baldwin shouted, "Get away from my wife and the baby with the camera! What f***ing language you
want that in?" He also allegedly called the photographer a "c**ksucking fag."
After initially denying that he had used those words, Baldwin admitted on Twitter that he had used an “anti-gay epithet.” “I apologize and will retire it from my vocabulary,” he added. In a subsequent statement released by MSNBC, Baldwin said:
“I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry. Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support.”
Later in November, however, MSNBC elected to fire Baldwin outright. In response, Baldwin said that he had not in fact used the term "fag." "I dispute half the comment I made," he said. "... if I called him 'cksucking maggot' or a 'cksucking motherfu**er'... 'faggot' is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know." Added Baldwin: "But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself."
Baldwin is a program advisory board member of the Brennan Center for Justice.