John Sexton at Hot Air reports that Alec Baldwin committed a gaffe in an interview on Friday’s PBS NewsHour. Anchor Jeffrey Brown asked about the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and Baldwin made the mistake of making it sound like the victims like Rose McGowan made it worse by agreeing to confidential settlements instead of going public.
Baldwin granted the interview to PBS to promote his new book making fun of Trump, but after securing the part of the interview, PBS devoted the Friday segment entirely to Baldwin's remarks about Hollywood and sexual harassment. They promised a more traditional book-publicity interview in the coming days.
JEFFREY BROWN: there has been a lot of talk about a culture of complicity, right, about people knowing things and not speaking up. And you said yesterday that you had heard rumors of actions. What did you know exactly and --
ALEC BALDWIN: I didn’t know anything. But I know that when you talked about Harvey Weinstein in the business, for example, for decades, you knew that he was highly intrusive in the process of making films. You know, his nickname was Harvey Scissorhands. And he was very intrusive in the path of the directors who worked for him.
Number two, you knew that he was a very intense guy and very bullying guy, and was shouting and screaming at people and exhorting them when he didn’t get his way. And, last but not least, you heard the rumor that he raped Rose McGowan. You heard that over and over. We have heard that for decades. And nothing was done.
BROWN: And nobody said anything, though.
BALDWIN: Well, but what happened was that Rose McGowan took a payment of $100,000 and settled her case with him. And it was for Rose McGowan to prosecute that case. I don’t think you and I are working at a job, and we vet everybody we work for in terms of, not just sexual crimes, racism. Do I sit there and say to myself, I want to have a forensic psychiatrist come and examine the entire board of Warner Bros., and I will never take another paycheck from Warner Bros. until everybody on that board of directors that runs that company have been vetted that they’re not racist, sexist, homophobic, you name it, I need to have a report on that? And you could do the same thing.
As if he hadn’t dug his Trench of Gaffe deeply enough, Baldwin repeated himself:
BALDWIN: And where this thing with Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan came along was, I had no idea, until now, that she had settled the case. And many people have asked the question — The New York Times, in fact, printed an article about this. This was online.
And I found this very compelling. The New York Times wrote an article and said, do the settlement of these cases hurt the cause of exposing and bringing us to a place of real change? When women take money and are silenced by that money, even though they took the money and were silenced because they were told, beyond the money, it was the right thing for them to do, keep quiet, don’t make too many waves, it is going to hurt your career, when they do it, nonetheless, does it set back the cause of change?
Unsurprisingly, McGowan didn’t find this line of reasoning persuasive. She tweeted “Told you everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more.”
Asia Argento, another Weinstein accuser, unleashed: “Hey @AlecBaldwin you're either a complete moron or providing cover for your pals and saving your own rep. Maybe all three.”
Baldwin responded by announcing he was going inactive on his personal Twitter account. "It was never my intention, in my public statements, to 'blame the victim' in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently…. my heart goes out to all such victims. My goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality. Au revoir."
The first part of the interview was also challenging:
BROWN: You said: “I certainly have treated women in a very sexist way. I have bullied women. I have overlooked women. I have underestimated women, not as a rule. From time to time, I have done what a lot of men do.” Explain. What do you mean?
BALDWIN: Well, I mean, I think that in the — especially in the generation I’m from, the person in charge was always a man. The president was a man. The head of the studio was a man. The director of the film was a man.
And I was just conditioned to where, if a woman was contributing to the project or the process, we kind of go, OK, that’s great. Now let’s have the guy do the talking who’s in charge. A man was always in charge in my lifetime. And that’s changed.
BROWN: But you used bullying, I mean, bullying vs. harassment vs. misconduct. Define what you mean.
BALDWIN: Well, I mean, bullying in terms of, if I have — you know, if I have an argument with my wife and I raise my voice, that’s bullying. It doesn’t — I mean, I’m not involved in any of the sexual harassment claims that are being made in the media now. But in the way that we treat women differently from men in any way, that’s — we’re learning.