Alec Baldwin sure is something else, isn't he? The man's antics are perfect examples of what a famous white actor can get away with. He benefits from a degree of privilege that is not afforded to us regular folks, or even famous actors of color, for that matter. His boorish, bullying, and completely uncalled-for behavior usually gets treated like an afterthought. He's one of the boys, and boys will be boys -- but that only goes for those belonging to a certain demographic, it seems.
The man has been accused of being out of control, homophobic, and sexist and having complete disregard for authority, even while breaking the law. It baffles me to see him getting treated differently. His scandals are not even considered scandals by the media and the people who keep giving him work. Surely, anybody else would've been fired and pretty much lampooned and harangued for the behavior he's displayed in the past and continues to display today.
What's so special about him that he thinks he can get belligerent with cops? He gets stopped for riding his bike the wrong way in New York City and fails to provide ID. He gets belligerent with the cops and is arrested. He then throws one of his infamous tantrums that make the media jump up and down with glee instead of condemnation. To add insult to injury, the mayor of New York City, instead of backing the NYPD's Hispanic Society, which had called him out, calls his actions "unfortunate." I am disappointed with the coded language, Mayor de Blasio.
"I think it's unfortunate," the mayor said. "I respect him. I think he has said some important and thoughtful things about this city over the years, but this is an unfortunate situation."
No, Mr. Mayor, your choice of words is unfortunate. Just say nobody is above the law and stand behind your own police force, especially when they're in the right. Don't compliment the man and downplay his unacceptable behavior. That's shameful.
I feel like I'm living in Htrae, a true bizarro world in which everyone and the mayor is contributing to the mediocrity of it all. Systemic privilege, that's what it is -- a privilege that not even our champions of equality seem to recognize, let alone acknowledge and rectify, not even with words. You know why that is, right? Because language is powerful, and once you confirm with your words that something is wrong, then you have no excuse not to act. Otherwise, people are going to call you out on it. It seems like nobody wants to step in the ring to even the playing field, especially not the folks who covet the position. It's obvious that prestige is the sole motivator. Everything else is for the birds. I hate to bring out a cliché, but Mayor de Blasio is a politician, after all.
Now, I understand that Alec Baldwin is charming. He's a great actor. I'm also of the school of thought that one should judge an artist based on his work and not his behavior outside of that, but that isn't the reality of our world. Talent and celebrity worship go hand in hand. Celebrities wouldn't get work if those two weren't symbiotic. My gripe is that many celebrities get away with boorish behavior just because they're celebrities, but not so fast: You have to be of a certain ethnicity for this. Otherwise it doesn't apply you.
Isaiah Washington was canned from Grey's Anatomy for using an anti-gay slur against a cast member. (Mind you, Alec did once get the boot for his use of anti-gay slurs, which appears to be the only faux pas that can really get you fired.) Columbus Short was fired from Scandal for domestic violence. (Now, this is an extreme case that should be treated as such.) Rick Sanchez was let go from CNN for saying something that was questionable but benign. It did not warrant the draconian move. Jon Stewart agrees. But nobody bats an eye when Alec continues to act out. Why is that?
We get no cartes blanches. The Alec Baldwins of the world do. I dream of the day when we all get treated the same -- in the media, in newsrooms, in fiction, in film, on TV, in the world. This is never going to happen if we keep giving passes to a certain people. Either we give them freely to everyone or we give them to no one at all. We need to keep harping on this issue until it's changed. Only then will Alec Baldwin and his ilk realize that we won't apologize for, celebrate, chuckle at, or dismiss indefensible behavior.