Alec Baldwin vowed to quit the media (but not the movies) and fired a few parting shots at former co-workers like Shia LaBeouf, Rachel Maddow, and MSNBC head Phil Griffin, in an essay entitled “Good-Bye, Public Life” published Monday in New York magazine.
The piece is mainly focused on denying allegations of homophobia that rose from a November altercation with a paparazzi photographer in which the actor allegedly used a homophobic slur. That led to the suspension and then cancellation of his MSNBC talk show. Baldwin denies using the slur and reaffirms his commitment to LGBT rights in the essay, before naming some of the people he blames for his fall from grace.
He says Rachel Maddow was responsible for the cancellation of his MSNBC show, and thought Baldwin was as bad as Mel Gibson. “I think Rachel Maddow is quite good at what she does,” Baldwin says. “I also think she’s a phony who doesn’t have the same passion for the truth off-camera that she seems to have on the air.”
But Baldwin was just getting started on MSNBC. He said the producer assigned to his show, Jonathan Larsen, “didn’t get me or the show and didn’t want to be there,” and was sent there to “babysit” him. He lit into network president Phil Griffin, saying he didn’t care about news content. “All he wanted to talk about was Giants tickets, Super Bowl tickets, restaurants, movies.” He claimed that after he was fired from MSNBC, a source told him that “Phil is going to start leaking left and right to bury you.”
In vowing to renounce fame, Baldwin says “I haven’t changed, but public life has.” He also mentions some advice from Warren Beatty that may explain Baldwin’s behavior: “Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one.”
But even if Baldwin is trying to get away from the media glare, he’s not going to stop making movies, although he may stop living in New York. According to his essay, Baldwin now has his heart set on Los Angeles.