Earlier this week, it was reported that Alec Baldwin is developing a talk show for ABC. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not this is a good idea, may I present to you evidence that it isn’t? Exhibit A: Alec Baldwin as a guest on a talk show.
This morning, Baldwin appeared on the Today show with Megan Kelly, where they talked about Bad Men in Hollywood and the role of late night hosts. Chief on their minds was a recent standoff between Dustin Hoffman and John Oliver at a Wag the Dog anniversary panel (yes, that is a real thing). Oliver confronted Hoffman about the sexual misconduct allegations leveled at him, which made Baldwin so mad that he tweeted about it from the account of his foundation (yes, that is also a real thing):
When Kelly asked Baldwin about it, he responded that it was “a can of worms” and “tough” before going on to say, “You certainly want to see everybody who’s guilty of something, who’ve done bad things, wrong things and hurt people, you want to see those people get punished, but I don’t want to see other people get pulled into that, who, there’s a lot of accusations and no proof yet.” So I guess that could indicate that Alec Baldwin’s talk show probably won’t have the most cutting-edge take on sexual assault.
Naturally, the conversation turned towards the golden standard of misogynist predation, Harvey Weinstein. Kelly said that Hoffman’s actions couldn’t be compared to Weinstein’s. Can we stop with this kind of thing? It builds on the mythological hierarchy of abuse of women, as if just because men don’t systematically target women, assault them, intimidate them into signing NDAs, and have them followed by former Mossad agents, accusations by women against them shouldn’t be taken as seriously.
Baldwin then attempted to use the industry’s history of sexism to exonerate Hoffman:
“This is no excuse, but like 40 years ago there was a kind of way that people had kind of a sexualized byplay and fooling around that was wrong. You look back and you say that was wrong then, but it seemed to be less problematic than it is now. Where we live now is that there’s a lot of things you just don’t do anymore.”
Again, all this focus on “the real predators”—as opposed to men who were simply playing by antiquated predatory and misogynist rules—misses the point. The criminal justice angle is important but to only find validity in a conviction, when so many victims of sexual abuse are dismissed by the justice system, is shortsighted and extremely tolerant of the kinds of sexist and abusive behavior that never reach a courtroom.
Baldwin also said this fun thing:
We don’t understand men who want a woman, her tears streaming down her face, and she’s begging you not to do the thing you’re gonna do. Most men, and I do, say, what’s with that? My ego’s too big. If I go on a date with you and I have dinner and I don’t think you’re wildly crazy about me, I’m like, “check please, let’s get out of here.”
To which Kelly responded, ”Rational people can’t respond to irrational actions in a rational way.” Sure.