Alec Baldwin is stepping back from Twitter after comments he made about Rose McGowan in an interview with PBS News Hour were criticized online.
“It is [with] some degree of sadness that I will suspend posting on this, a TWITTER account, for a period of and in the current climate,” Baldwin wrote in a series of tweets on Saturday. “It was never my intention, in my public statements, to ‘blame the victim’ in the many sexual assault cases that have emerged recently. I simply posited that the settlement of such cases certainly delayed justice, though I am fully aware that those settlements were entered into [with] the understanding that settlement is wise, intimidated into believing so. My heart goes out to all such victims. My goal is to do better in all things related to gender equality. Au revoir.”
Baldwin added that the Twitter account for his foundation, from which the actor often personally tweets, will remain active — albeit with a focus on the foundation’s work.
But in a sign that Baldwin won’t depart completely from the social media platform, the star tweeted at actress Asia Argento from the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation account shortly after his announcement. “If you paint every man [with] the same brush, you’re gonna run out of paint or men,” Baldwin wrote.
Argento previously criticized Baldwin, after the star discussed sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein and addressed what kind of complicity those in Hollywood might have had in keeping the claims hidden for many years.
“I didn’t know anything,” Baldwin said when questioned about what he knew of Weinstein. “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.” (Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.)
Asked why “nobody said anything,” Baldwin added, “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.” In later comments, Baldwin said of McGowan, “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? That’s an issue, I think.”
Baldwin’s comments were slammed online, with McGowan herself writing, “Told you everyone knew. No one cared. Men ran the show. Women toed the line. No more.”
The Emmy-winning actor, who plays Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live, was previously criticized for his response to sexual misconduct allegations against director James Toback, with whom Baldwin has made two films. Baldwin initially stayed quiet about the numerous claims, but did attack an article published by The Decider about his documentary with Toback, Seduced and Abandoned. “I cheered when Gawker lost its case to Hulk. So, of course The Decider wants to tar me [with] the Toback brush. Kayla Cobb, ur a dreadful writer,” he wrote.
He later spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Toback, saying he had never spoken with the filmmaker about his sex life, but “always heard Jimmy was peculiar.”
Baldwin added, “I’ve got a lot people coming after me because I don’t come out there and attack Jimmy or make a comment about him. I don’t have any information firsthand about what I’m hearing. These are everybody else’s secondhand assertions about what he did. And, granted, you [he is referring to the reporter] are a lightning rod and hundreds of people have contacted you. That’s the reason I’m calling because I can’t assume that all these people are lying. And I feel terrible.”