Actor Alec Baldwin is posting tweets and making statements that are critical of late night television hosts over comments they make on individuals in Hollywood who have been accused of sexual assault.
Baldwin specifically called out “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver and “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert for targeting Harvey Weinstein, which Baldwin described as “low-hanging fruit.”
Talk shows were once promotional pit stops for some blithe chit chat about movies, etc. Now the likes of @iamjohnoliver and @StephenAtHome have flipped that and they are beginning to resemble grand juries.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 6, 2017
Thus far, we’ve had a tidal wave of accusations. But what’s next? H.W. is the low-hanging fruit here. And if you don’t get some form of conviction w him, that will hurt the cause. People have to believe that they’re are “ultimate” consequences.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 6, 2017
Baldwin also said that late night comedy programs, which once served as "promotional pit stops for some blithe chit chat about movies," were now turning into “grand juries” against individuals who were accused of assault.
The actor further elaborated his opinions in a series of tweets on Wednesday, in which he specifically defended Dustin Hoffman, whom Oliver had previously questioned (regarding allegations made against the actor) during a film panel this past weekend.
1- I believe that, in terms of a criminal code or any wrong doing, there are gradations. Our system recognizes a misdemeanor from a felony and so forth. What Hoffman did several years ago was vulgar/offensive/ crude. But was it done with malice?— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 7, 2017
2- behavior has changed significantly over the past 40-50 years. There are changes I never thought possible. Some of it actually for the better. But I’m certain Hoffman believed that there was a crude display of “humor” that everyone was in on yet is unacceptable today— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 7, 2017
3- I think that so long as people are ready, truly ready to learn, then this is more than an important step. I don’t think Hoffman was malicious. His humor, his sexualized behavior seems ridiculous and inappropriate now. But it was, to a degree, of it’s time.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 7, 2017
4- I think he is a sensitive and intelligent man who acted foolishly and people should accept his apology. Our goal should be for people to do better. For those like HW a different standard should apply.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 7, 2017
5- But some of those embroiled in this upheaval deserve forgiveness. Perhaps only a few.— ABFoundation (@ABFalecbaldwin) December 7, 2017
This world is difficult enough as it is. Let’s conserve our judgement for those that have truly earned it.
Baldwin also discussed the issue in an interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC on Wednesday. Baldwin explained that he wanted to see justice served against those who committed criminal acts.
“You certainly want to see everybody who’s guilty of something — who’ve done bad things, wrong things, and hurt people — get punished,” he said. “But I don’t want to see other people get pulled into that.”
He went on:
There’s a lot of accusations and no proof yet. I don’t want to see people get hurt… A lot of people, by the way, endorse [Oliver’s grilling of Hoffman]. They think that the hosts of those show are not only perfectly within their rights, but also find it very attractive or very necessary for them to be pressing this cause. I just don’t want to see people who are innocent get into trouble.”
Baldwin is entitled to his opinions, but his words seem to forgive the wrongs that others in the past may have committed. The alleged behavior that Hoffman engaged in, for example — he’s accused of using sexually-explicit language with a film intern, who was 17 at the time, and grabbing her buttocks — is inexcusable, no matter what the time period, and it shouldn’t be dismissed so easily.
Employing the excuse that acceptable behavior is different today than it was back then is not really an excuse at all. What’s wrong is wrong — and Baldwin is granting too much compassion for abusers in his remarks this week.